The answer to cleaner air in our city centres is all wrapped up in the construction supply chain

Peter jacobs 2018 bw

The answer to cleaner air in our city centres is all wrapped up in the construction supply chain, writes Peter Jacobs

Last October the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) published a report into how engineers should be tackling air pollution in London. Number one on its list of ten recommendations was Construction Consolidation Centres (CCCs).

The report, Engineering Cleaner Air, cites the London CCC in South Bermondsey, a Transport for London (TfL) trial project which ran from 2005. After two years of operating, there was a reduction in construction traffic to the four major sites the CCC served of between 60 and 70 percent.

Yet, over ten years later, the use of CCCs is still unusual, rather than the norm. The reason is the thorny question of who pays. Main contractors see CCCs as an additional cost that must be passed onto the client; they don’t see that they are already paying for the costs of transport, delivery and congestion, wrapped up into the cost of subcontracts and sub-subcontracts.

Currently the companies who benefit most from the use of CCCs are the hauliers. Think of the time they and money they save by making one delivery to a CCC on the outskirts of London, rather than multiple deliveries through congested traffic, with hours spent queueing to get onto site and unload. But the resulting cost saving isn’t passed up the supply chain.

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