ECO Stars schemes launched across UK

Voluntary clean air schemes tailor made to boost hauliers’ environmental credentials are being launched across the country after successful trials in Yorkshire and Devon.

The ECO Stars Fleet Recognition Scheme provides companies with a free audit of their fleet before follow-up advice is provided on how to improve efficiency and reduce fuel consumption.

Thurrock launched its own version last week (pictured) and Falkirk, York and Nottingham will follow suit over the coming weeks.

Suckling Transport signed up and was awarded the highest environmental rating of five stars. MD Peter Larner said: “I think it’s a good scheme. It’s very important that it’s linked to a freight quality partnership arrangement; the two go hand in hand. We want to see it developing and not simply be an award.”

The scheme’s principal consultant, Jim Chappell at Transport & Travel Research, said two more local authorities in England with air quality management issues have also shown interest in launching ECO Stars.

Health Check

The LGV licence is the most valuable tool in the professional truck driver’s armoury.

Wthout it he or she cannot make a living and for that reason it must be kept as unblemished as possible.

However, no one can legislate for illness, which can strike at any time. 

The licence holder must inform the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) if they have any disability, physical or mental, which may affect their fitness as a driver, unless it is not expected to last for more than three months. 

They must also tell the DVLA if an existing illness worsens.

The DVLA website lists around 170 conditions for which they may require notification and these are as wide ranging as agoraphobia, blood clots, kidney disease and vertigo. 

Conditions which must be notified include epilepsy, strokes, alcohol abuse and mental health problems, and these apply to all drivers. 

DVLA aim to make a decision on a licence within three weeks once an illness is reported.

It could take up to 90 days if they need to contact the driver’s doctor, arrange a medical examination, driving assessment, driving test or eye test.

If the licence is removed for health reasons, the DVLA will state how long the driver must wait before getting a new licence.

They can reapply eight weeks before this period ends but should ask their doctor if they meet the required medical standards.

Patric Cunnane will discuss the issue in more detail in the 21 February issue of Commercial Motor.