Eco-Friendly Fleets in the UK: A Commitment to Green Operations

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If your business operates a fleet of vehicles, it is becoming increasingly important to consider the environment in the everyday running of your organisation. In this article, we look at some examples of businesses and organisations in the UK making a commitment to reducing their carbon footprint in this manner.

Lorry Fleets

A number of UK businesses have shown a desire and commitment to improve their green credentials. One of Britain’s leading grocery shops, Waitrose, recently announced that they would put six new eco-friendly lorries into operation. These trucks run on a mixture of diesel and gas, which also powers the trailer’s refrigerator.

Sainsbury’s have also expanded their green fleet recently, and their dual-fuel lorries should cut emissions by over 2000 tonnes in South West England alone. This dual-fuel fleet is said to release 25% less carbon than traditional vehicles, and is part of a wider £1 billion investment by Sainsbury’s to cut their carbon emissions by 20-30% by 2020.

As well as the incorporation of new fuel technologies, a significant element of improving a fleet’s environmental impact is to design the trucks aerodynamically. In an interview with US-based KN Filters, aerodynamic innovator Bob Sliwa said of his ambitions;

“The idea started swirling around in my head when I first became an owner-operator in 1980. Soon after buying my first cabover tractor 18 wheeler, I then realized how poor the fuel mileage of existing equipment was. So right then, I decided to improve the efficiency and the fuel mileage, using my prior drag racing experience.”

Sliwa started AirFlow Truck Company in 1983, and has developed a number of highly aerodynamic trucks and trailers over the years. This is becoming a more serious proposition all the time, as interest from firms with fleets increases as fuel efficiency and environmental protection become more appealing.


As well as fleets of larger vehicles such as lorries, plenty of UK businesses are utilising greener vans. One example of this is Axis, the property maintenance firm, who recently ordered an 85-vehicle fleet of low-emission Mercedes-Benz – an investment of £1.5 million. Other key British organisations have highlighted their interest in a greener operation, notably British Gas.

British Gas have taken it a step further than low-emission by commissioning more electric vehicles for their fleet. In line with their target of making 10% of their fleet electric by 2017, in April 2014, British Gas ordered 100 Nissan e-NV200 electric vans.

Whilst there has been some debate about the suitability of electric vehicles for non-commercial use, they seem to be unquestionably appropriate for fleets. One reason for this is that their operation fits into a schedule in which they allocate time for recharging overnight. Furthermore, electric vehicles’ minuscule running costs make them appealing to businesses across various industries.

As you might expect, the Environment Agency is leading the way in this field. Their fleet is incredibly mixed; from tiny hatchbacks to 4x4s – and even boats. However, the Agency has been revolutionary in their approach. As well as replacing the high polluting 4x4s with greener models, the Environment Agency has introduced 25 hybrid vans, trialled innovative engine remapping software, and committed to using sustainable bio-diesel. For their efforts, they have been awarded EST’s Green Fleet Hero award for Leadership and an award for Green Van Fleet of the Year.

But It’s not only the biggest UK businesses & organisations that are committing to a green approach. Salix Homes, a firm who manage council-owned properties in the Salford area, invested in a new Renault Kangoo ZE as an addition to their fleet. The van can travel around 75 miles on each £2.50 charge. This acquisition is part of their wider green approach, working together with various other hybrid and low-emission vehicles in the fleet.

Chief Executive of Salix Homes, Sue Sutton, said;

“This new ‘green machine’ is helping us reduce our emissions and cut our carbon footprint. This is just one of the many ways we show our commitment to the environment and we are hoping to introduce more electric vehicles to our fleet in the near future.”

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