Sector Focus

Business Travel Sector Focus The latest news from the sectors that matter to business

Ditching diesel is just the ticket for National Express

National Express Group has pledged never to buy another diesel vehicle, after outlining its vision to become the UK’s most sustainable bus and coach company. As well as no more diesel buses,

the firm is also aiming to bring its first electric coaches into service next year. Its ambition that its UK bus and

UK coach fleets will be fully zero emission from 2030 and 2035 respectively. This new vision follows the firm’s

sustained investment in Euro VI vehicles, which are deemed to be the least polluting of petrol and diesel vehicles. National Express, which operates

most of the buses in Birmingham, Coventry and Dundee, has placed a major order for electric buses are due to enter service in the West Midlands in the coming months. These vehicles will be supplied by the Alexander Dennis Limited

(ADL) and BYD Europe partnership. ADL is a Scottish based busmaker and BYD is a global leader in batteries and electric buses. The decision to go electric in Birmingham will turn the clock back to the days of one of National Express’ predecessors, Birmingham City Transport, which ran a fleet of vehicles made up of mostly electric powered trams until 1953. National Express’ coach arm is

also going electric, but at present there is no such vehicle capable of long distance travel. National Express is currently trialling an electric coach on its short distance Stansted shuttle, but has challenged the bus industry to come up with a vehicle that has long distance capability. Dean Finch, National Express

Group chief executive said: “Bus and coach travel is already one of the greenest ways to get around, with each bus removing up to 75 cars from the road.

Boost for canal plan

A student property firm has stepped in to help the restoration of a Birmingham canal, by making a £20,000 donation. The restoration is of the Dudley No 2 Canal, where it runs through

Selly Oak. Unite Students, which is a provider of student accommodation, has been working on the restoration since last year, and recently organised volunteer groups to clean up the canal and towpath. The £20,000 donation will be used to start the construction of a

‘winding hole’, a kind of aquatic turning circle on the Worcester and Birmingham Canal which will be used by boats to turn into Dudley No 2. One of Unite’s buildings, Battery Park, is opposite the winding hole

site. This opened last September, and is home to 418 students. Dr Andrew Hardie, chairman of the Lapal Canal Trust, said: “We are

very grateful for the generous donation of £20,000 from Unite Students, which will enable us to start constructing the winding hole, before we move on to the next phase of the canal restoration through to Selly Oak Park.” Victoria Simmons, Unite’s Birmingham area manager, said: “Our top

priority is keeping our students safe and providing a brilliant experience - we want to extend this to the local community in the areas surrounding our student home. Working closely with the University of Birmingham and local charities, we are working to make a positive impact that benefits a wide range of people.”

70 CHAMBERLINK April 2020

The end: National Express’ last diesel bus, which will operate in Coventry “National Express has already

invested in clean buses and coaches and kept fares low to support a shift from private cars to mass transit. “Working through our West Midlands Bus Alliance we have achieved the fastest passenger growth of any major city-region in the country, demonstrating its success. “However we understand the

imperative to go much further, so we are today setting out an

ambition to be the first zero emission transport group in the UK. “Our decision to never again buy

a diesel bus in the UK coupled with our support in leading the zero emission transition in coach will place our UK operations at the forefront of efforts to tackle climate change and poor air quality. “We simply believe this is the

right thing to do for our customers, the communities we serve and our stakeholders.”

Hauliers air their concerns

The Road Haulage Association (RHA) is calling for the government to reform its Clean Air Zone (CAZ) policy as matter of urgency. The RHA has condemned the

current approach as ‘expensive, inflexible and ineffective’, and would have an adverse effect on the resale value of non-Euro VI rated trucks. Euro VI are rated as

the least polluting diesel and petrol vehicles. Euro VI diesels will be compliant with the CAZ that Birmingham City Council is introducing this summer. The Birmingham CAZ – which

has been beset with ongoing teething problems – covers a large area of the city centre, bounded by Ladywood in the west, Bordesley in the east, Highgate in the south and New Town in the north. RHA chief executive Richard

Burnett (pictured) said: “We all want clean air, but the right policies are needed to achieve it without damaging business. We have consistently pointed out the flaws with the current approach but this seems to have fallen on deaf ears within government. “The current policy

is seeing hard-working and long-established firms go out-of- business. There are

better ways forward. “Of course we want to

decarbonise our industry but it

is vital that Ministers and policymakers learn lessons so that the right framework is in place to address climate change. It must also support jobs and economic growth.” The RHA says it has an

‘alternative, smarter solution’, where it wants to see a system of ‘intelligent phasing’ introduced.

Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72  |  Page 73  |  Page 74  |  Page 75  |  Page 76  |  Page 77  |  Page 78  |  Page 79  |  Page 80  |  Page 81  |  Page 82  |  Page 83  |  Page 84  |  Page 85  |  Page 86  |  Page 87  |  Page 88  |  Page 89  |  Page 90  |  Page 91  |  Page 92