Slough aims to cut NOx with low emissions strategy

HGVs travelling through Slough could be forced to clean up their act after the council said it had been given government money to cut transport emissions.

Although an official announcement has not been made, the funding award and plan were contained in a recent impact assessment report looking into an M4 widening scheme.

The Berkshire town’s council said it had secured funding from Defra to develop a low emission strategy, which will be published in spring 2016.

It said: “The strategy is aimed at reducing NOx emissions from road transport in the borough. The objective is to comply with NO2 limits by 2020, 10 years after we should be complying with the EU limits.”

A council spokeswoman told it was putting together a strategy and that a public consultation would follow in January. Despite many towns and cities investigating the potential of low emissions zones, only London has a working zone that affects commercial vehicles.

The West Sussex village of Storrington is using four ANPR cameras to generate data that will determine whether it launches such a zone.

Injuries in transport and storage higher than in any other sector

There is no shortage in the amount of health and safety-related legislation road transport operators have to abide by, designed to keep both employees and the general public safe while carrying out what can potentially be a dangerous job.

So it came as a surprise to The Transport Law Blog that the rate of reported injuries in the transport and storage sector in the last three years was significantly higher than the average rate across all industries.

According to the HSE, an annual average of 2,600 injuries per 100,000 workers were reported between 2012 and 2015 by businesses in the transport and storage industry.

Each year 3% of the workforce sustains a work-related injury of some sort with slips, trips and falls, and lifting and handling being the two main causes of injury, each accounting for 28% of the number of incidents reported.

Falls from height account for around 10% of injuries in the sector every year. Recent cases have included workers falling from fragile roofs or from the top of trailers.

Some 11% of injuries involve being struck by an object, including vehicles. Earlier this year a judge said the accident rate within the waste and recycling sector in particular remained one of the highest in any industry, with collisions between vehicles and pedestrians a particular issue.

Not only can injuries, depending on their severity, result in fines or prosecutions bought against a company if the employer is found at fault, they can also result in loss of business. The HSE estimates that 300,000 working days in the transport industry are lost every year as a result of an employee being injured, so there is an incentive to make sure that safety procedures at your operation are tip-top.

Ill health is also an issue in the transport sector, resulting in employees taking an average of 1.1 million days out of work every year. An annual average of 3,350 out of every 100,000 workers suffered from work-related illness over the last three-year period.

Under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 (Riddor), records of accidents, dangerous occurrences and specified diseases must be kept by responsible persons for at least three years.