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Published: Thursday, 26th July 2018

An electric cargo bike is going head to head with a delivery van to see which is the best way for local businesses to serve their customers.

The pilot scheme is one of a number of cleaner air initiatives being piloted in Royal Greenwich's Low Emission Neighbourhood (LEN).

Finding out which is the cleanest and most cost effective

Greenwich butchers Drings has agreed to be the guinea pig for a scheme to see which mode of transport is the cleanest, most cost effective and fastest way to fill orders for its customers. The independent butcher will use the electric cargo bike for deliveries alongside its traditional delivery van.

Sustainable transport charity Sustrans has trained four of the butchers at Drings to use the electric cargo bike and the charity will work alongside Imperial College London to evaluate the two modes of delivery, in terms of the time deliveries take and overall costs, alongside their carbon footprint.

Results to be released on Car Free Day

The preliminary results of the two-month trial will be released in time for Car Free Day, Saturday 22 September, which is being celebrated in Royal Greenwich this year with an exciting all day family event in Greenwich Town Centre.

Electric cargo bikes help the rider to get up hilly areas more easily and extend the range the bike can travel without the rider getting tired - up to 50 miles on a single charge.

'Improve air quality around the borough'

Councillor Denise Scott McDonald, Cabinet Member for Air Quality, Public Realm and Transport, said: "Many of our businesses use cars and vans to deliver goods to their customers locally. If we could transform those short trips into zero emission cargo bike journeys it would greatly improve air quality around the borough."

Councillor Denise Hyland, Cabinet Member for Economy, Skills and Apprenticeships, said: "This project is not just about air quality, important as that is. It is also about good business sense. In the congested streets of London an electric cargo bike can negotiate traffic easier and not waste time, fuel and money sitting in traffic jams."

Fantastic customer reaction so far

Michael Jones, proprietor of Drings, said the reaction from his customer so far was: "Fantastic. This is how shops and businesses made deliveries years ago, and already we are finding it is the most efficient way of serving our customers."

Sustrans negotiated with manufacturers Riese and Muller who supplied the electric cargo bike free for six months.

Matt Winfield, London Director, Sustrans said: "There's nothing fitter than a Butcher's dog, apart from the Butcher himself when he's on his new cargo bike. Not only is he fitter, but he's also better off as our testing is showing that he's able to carry out many more peak time deliveries on his cargo bike than by van.

"We're very proud of this Sustrans - Royal Borough of Greenwich partnership, and believe that this is a great example for other small businesses around London."

Low Emission Neighbourhood

The Low Emission Neighbourhood (LEN) is an innovative scheme set up by Royal Greenwich and part funded by the GLA. It is focused on improving air quality in the Greenwich West and Peninsula wards using a mixture of 'smart technology' and tried-and-tested techniques to reduce transport emissions and make the area more people-friendly.