LLRA recently met with Jody Lupton, Veolia Business Manager at the Albion Works, to review how things were going in the six months since the Traffic Commissioner introduced new conditions on Veolia’s Vehicle Operating Licence. It was a very positive meeting, with Veolia explaining their commitment to being good neighbours and to addressing any issues related to vehicle operations at the site that impact on nearby homes. Operating HGV’s, especially early morning, is not without its challenges but Veolia certainly appear to have raised their game by implementing things over and above that required by their operating licence conditions.
Actions taken include:
- All HGV’s and cars are now reverse parked so that any departures involve forward gear only.
- Every new employee has an induction session to make them aware of conditions needed to be abided by (eg speed limits and reversing, fuelling, maintenance, skip loading etc only between 7am and 6pm). The equivalent rules are also kept in each HGV for easy reference. Veolia have also introduced this same induction for drivers at their Hull depot as they occasionally operate out of Lincoln. This means all drivers are clear what is expected of them.
- A log book is kept of any deviations on vehicle movements outside of 7am to 6pm operations. This can happen when a vehicle has broken down or needs a replacement tyre. During last year’s fuel shortages, there were some problems with vehicles being able to refuel at the right times. The workshop keeps a similar log book for the vehicles they maintain, which come from other Veolia depots.
- Five CCTV cameras now cover the site. So resident complaints (if any) mentioning a specific time can be easily checked to identify potential problems. There had only been one call recently. A resident rang to complain about a noise at 1am in the morning. Veolia’s operations don’t start until 4am but they were able to satisfy themselves from the CCTV footage that the noise had not come from the site.
- Last year a detailed examination of the noise produced by each HGV found a specific problem with one vehicle (RoRo type). The vehicle design meant it was noisiest when not loaded with containers, which is the way the vehicle left the depot in the early morning. The vehicle was swapped with one from another depot (which only operated with loaded containers).
- “Velcro wraps” have been produced which are fixed around skip lorry chains to stop them clanking. The wraps have to be removable as the chains need a mechanical safety inspection every six weeks. This solution was developed by the workshop team at the Albion Works.
- Two Speed Indicator Devices (SID) are being installed at the site entrance, one incoming and one outgoing set to 7mph (with a smiley face if below the limit). Veolia made the point that one SID (outgoing) could have been installed but the decision was made to purchase a second to also slow non-Veolia vehicles (delivery drivers etc) who sometimes drove on to the site faster than desired.
- Circa ten trees will be planted to hide the skip storage area from some homes on Albion Close (and any homes built on the landfill area currently for sale).
LLRA thanked Veolia for the work that had been done and confirmed that this had resulted in positive benefits for nearby residents. LLRA asked for its thanks to be passed on to Veolia drivers for adopting new methods of working. Jody said the drivers had embraced them quickly as they were professionals and took pride in their work. Also, they are well used to visiting other sensitive sites as part of their activities.
Potential future problems were discussed. The biggest is probably that on occasions drivers can be delayed beyond 6pm due to vehicle problems or traffic delays and this could have knock on effects for the following day. LLRA recognised this could happen and asked that the priority was given to avoiding early morning rather than early evening disturbances.
LLRA took the opportunity to talk through its own summary of where Veolia sat relative to other commercial operations in Long Leys. Veolia agreed that this was a fair assessment (see below for more details)
In the long term, with the switch to electric trucks over the next decade, vehicle operations should get quieter. Veolia are trialling electric trucks for their Westminster depot in London (politicians always seem to get special treatment!) and there is a big focus on decarbonisation within Veolia overall.
Summary of Vehicle Operations in Long Leys
In preparation for last year’s Public Inquiry, LLRA produced a 1-page summary of all commercial businesses and the vehicle movements that result. This has now been updated and can be viewed below. For simplicity, businesses were placed into one of three categories, based on previous experience of their potential for noise disturbance or parking issues from vehicles:
- HIGH RISK: Ongoing issues, not resolved
- MEDIUM RISK: Some complaints from time to time, addressed and resolved by the business
- LOW RISK: No measurable complaints.
LLRA is delighted to report that currently, based on the last 6 months of operations, there is no business in the problematic high risk category. LLRA accepts that organisations with a high volume of car movements, or operating large trucks especially early morning, means there can be individual “one-off” incidents. However “good neighbour” businesses address these quickly and considerately (examples available). Future moves over the next 5-10 years to quieter electric or Hydrogen Fuel Cell Trucks could hopefully reduce some risk assessments from medium to low.