A scheme helping commercial vehicle operators address air quality has proved so successful it is being extended to assist taxis.
The ECO Stars Fleet Recognition Scheme aims to raise awareness among companies operating vans, HGVs, buses and coaches of the important role they can play in helping improve local air quality and other environmental issues by enhancing the performance of their fleet.
The scheme, which is free and voluntary, is open to any size of business to take part, from just one vehicle to large fleets, and provides guidance of best practice and gives recognition of the participation and achievements of those involved.
It has proved such a success since it began in South Lanarkshire in 2014 that the council is now launching the ECO Stars Taxi and Private Hire Scheme.
Councillor John Anderson, Chair of Community and Enterprise Resources, and Shirley Clelland, Head of Fleet and Environmental Services, marked the success with a presentation to the 200th member of the Fleet Scheme, NHS Lanarkshire, and to Wellman Cars, the first member of the Taxi Scheme.
Councillor Anderson said: “ECO Stars is simple to join, and their team even visits a company to complete the application on behalf of the organisation.
“It rates the performance of individual vehicles and a fleet’s overall operation using star ratings and each member receives a tailored ‘road map’ to ensure their vehicles are running as efficiently and economically as possible and to help them progress to higher ratings.
"It is a wonderful scheme both for the companies involved and for the environment and I am delighted to congratulate NHS Lanarkshire on becoming the 200th member of the Fleet Scheme, demonstrating how popular it has been with operators, and Wellman Cars on being the first firm to sign up as we launch our Taxi Scheme.
“I look forward to seeing the benefits it brings them an all others involved, as well as the tremendous advantage to the quality of air breathed by the people of South Lanarkshire and beyond.”
Shirley Clelland added: “When we marked Clean Air Day recently, we saw many ways that a variety of schemes are helping to improve air quality and benefit the environment and ECO Stars is another great example of this.
“For example, by implementing the key measures recommended by the ECO Stars Scheme, a typical HGV could see its annual output of carbon dioxide fall by six tonnes a year.
“In addition, the same measures could also save operators up to £2600 per HGV in a year – for an operator with 10 vehicles this equates to a saving of one whole tanker of diesel – or up to £300 per taxi or private hire vehicle.
“Companies can promote their green credentials by displaying ECO Stars logo on their website, reassuring everyone that they are doing their part in helping the air they are breathing.
“This is a win-win situation for everyone and I would urge all commercial vehicle operators to follow the example of NHS Lanarkshire, Wellman Cars and all our other members and get involved with ECO Stars as soon as they can.”
Marie Porteous, Head of Sustainability & Environment Manager from NHS Lanarkshire, was delighted to receive a plaque commemorating becoming the 200th member of the ECO Stars Fleet Scheme in South Lanarkshire, and said: “We are continually working hard towards greening our fleet, and the benefits through sustainable transport and low emissions ensure that our fleet has minimal impact on the environment.
“We are thrilled to receive 4 stars within the ECO Stars Fleet Recognition scheme and will continue to improve our vehicle and overall operational efficiency.”
A plaque was also presented to Blair Welsh, from first taxi-scheme member Wellman Cars, who said: “We are so pleased to be the first ECO Stars Taxi and Private Hire Scheme member and to achieve 4 stars. The advice we were given from the ECO Stars team was tailored to our operations and we look forward to working with the team to move forward to a 5-star rating.”
ECO Stars is operated in this area by Transport Research Laboratories Ltd on behalf of South Lanarkshire Council, and is open to any company whose fleet is based in, or operates regularly in, South Lanarkshire.
Paul Wilkinson, Program Manager from ECO Stars, said: “We are pleased to welcome NHS Lanarkshire to the ECO Stars scheme. It was clear from the assessment that NHS Lanarkshire have a clear vision and ambition with regard to their environmental goals and are setting a good example of transport operational practices. We are also delighted to welcome Wellman Cars who are on the first to step forward to show their commitment to improving their local air quality.”