Three Important Ways Electric Vehicles Help Local Authorities Hit Sustainability Goals Faster

Sustainability is top of the agenda for most local councils. But delivering sustainable infrastructure projects is easier said than done.

Despite the recent announcement of extra Government funding ¹, the process of planning, managing and delivering sustainable infrastructure is a huge challenge. Tier 3 emission accounting means leaders need to implement green alternatives across their entire supply chains – and this creates a serious problem for many councils.

A gap in the sustainability market

Key infrastructure projects require strategic equipment like Van Mounted MEWP. But these are generally seen as a big source of carbon and noise emissions. Today, fully-electric alternatives exist – they have just not been readily available to local authorities. 

Access Zero offers the UK’s first fleet of fully-electric Van Mounted MEWP, enabling infrastructure projects to run more smoothly and with far less impact to the environment. 

Here are three ways electric Van Mounted MEWP help local councils achieve their sustainability goals:


1. Reduced emissions

The construction, operation and maintenance of infrastructure are responsible for roughly 16% of the UK’s total carbon emissions ². The machinery and vehicles used during projects is an important part of this – yet these emissions are often seen as inevitable.

Fully-electric Van Mounted MEWP solve that problem – producing zero emissions and requiring far less energy to run. This helps radically reduce the overall output of mobile workforces. It also makes projects easier to run in densely populated urban areas where Ultra Low Emissions Zones (ULEZ) are more common ³

2. Easier budgeting

According to recent reports, 7 in 10 UK councils are struggling to finance their net-zero transition. This puts pressure on leaders, even with extra funding from the government. And since green options are generally seen as more costly, many contractors struggle to afford electric vehicles.

This is why Access Zero offers a fully inclusive maintenance solution, enabling local authorities to hire the latest access platform technology in confidence and easily forecast their cash flow due to not having to account for any service or maintenance costs. This means opting for electric Van Mounted MEWP doesn’t mean sacrificing other green initiatives or creating an unmanageable budget deficit.

3. Minimise noise pollution

Noise pollution is less widely publicised than air pollution, but it is just as harmful to the health of the local population. Researchers estimate that excessive noise costs the UK economy £20 billion each year. And Councils have a clear mandate to reduce noise from infrastructure projects – especially in urban areas.

Electric Van Mounted MEWP operate silently. This removes a huge source of on-site noise emissions and makes the environment more pleasant for both workers and civilians.

2.Sweco Group 3.London.Gov 4.Edie

Four Ways Exceptional Service Keeps Your Project Moving

Delays are the bane of construction and infrastructure projects. Recent research reveals that roughly 10% of activities on the average site are performed out of sequence¹, with over two-thirds of projects running over budget by more than 10% – and larger projects routinely taking 20% longer than anticipated.

How can these challenges be overcome? One simple solution is to choose the right partners. Suppliers of strategic equipment like Vehicle Mounted Access Platforms (VMAPs) and mobile welfare units should not only offer best-in-class products – they should be expected to support you throughout the project.

Here are four ways this can help avoid delays:

1. Availability

Delivering, collecting and servicing vehicles can be a serious logistical challenge, if your provider has limited access to specific areas and will take a long time getting to your site.

This limits the flexibility of your site, and leaves you vulnerable to unexpected delays. But Access Hire and Welfare Hire each provide both service and deliveries across the entire country. With the largest fleet in the country and an unparalleled delivery network, we are able to get you what you need faster and more reliably than other providers.

“We’ve never been let down with a collection or delivery”

Kelling Group Customer


2. Specialist knowledge

Vehicle mounted access platforms, mobile welfare units, lighting towers – these are very technical pieces of equipment which require in-depth specialist knowledge. Without that knowledge, it will take longer to service the vehicle – and any issue you experience is more likely to recur.

As specialists in our chosen fields, both Welfare Hire and Access Hire pride ourselves not only on providing the best equipment, but the highest level of expertise. Our team is made up of specialists who know the ins-and-outs of the equipment we offer – to ensure we can offer the best service possible.

We offer detailed advice to our partners at the start of every hire, to ensure the right equipment is selected – and used to its full potential. Then we provide assistance throughout the entire process, so that issues are resolved faster.

“They provide us with high quality products and service each and every time, taking the hassle out of welfare provision.”

Kelling Group Customer

3. Fully maintained equipment

Maintenance is essential for key strategic equipment. If your mobile welfare units or vehicle mounted access platforms suddenly stall or experience a mechanical fault, it can completely derail a day’s schedule, as you are unable to complete tasks involving the vehicles. And even if the vehicles do still function, you may be breaking regulatory requirements by using them without proper maintenance.

At Kelling Group, we pride ourselves on avoiding such problems. Both Access Hire and Welfare Hire include rigorous quality checks as part of our standard service offering. This creates a consistent level of quality, ensuring every mobile welfare unit, lighting tower and vehicle mounted access platform we provide is properly maintained- and supports your project, rather than disrupting it.

“The vehicles are maintained and serviced to a very high standard. This is vital to us from a safety and regulatory perspective.”

Kelling Group Customer
Kelling Group Sales And Hire Controller

4. A complete support network

When problems do arise with your strategic equipment, they can often be dealt with very quickly – as long as there is proper support on-hand. That’s why both Access Hire and Welfare Hire benefit from a complete support network – from service teams in the office to engineers in the field.

Access Hire boosts this with a strategic network that enables us to provide 24/7/265 support. So even if your infrastructure project works through the night or early morning, you’ll have access to fast, responsive support if there’s any issue with your vehicle mounted access platforms.

“The support network is excellent and critically, for our business, available 24/7/365.”

Access Hire Customer

Four Vital Trends For The UK’s Water Sector in 2023 and Beyond

The UK’s water sector is essential to virtually every facet of life. It provides water to 50 million household and non-household consumers every day¹ – employing 127,000 people in the process.²

But from ageing infrastructure to sustainability pressures, the sector faces serious challenges in the coming years. Upgrading and improving water networks will require reliable site setup and key strategic equipment – such as mobile welfare units and lighting towers. 

Here are four trends that water faces in 2023 and beyond:

1. Waste and pollution

According to the latest estimates, UK water companies lose an average of 2,923.8 million litres of water per day – equating to 1.06 trillion litres over a year.³ Reports also emerged last year of companies illegally dumping sewage in rivers. And while companies have reduced leakages by 6% in the last year , there is still plenty of work to be done.

As demand grows for more sustainable systems, these issues will have to be addressed. Large scale projects will be required to ensure national distribution systems adapt, ensuring waste is reduced and users across the country can reliably access clean water.

2. Justifying rising costs

Inflation has driven up prices across the board – and water is no exception. One in five UK water customers currently says their bill is not affordable. And when some regions of the country saw their water bills rise more sharply than other areas, there was some pushback against providers. As a result, there is growing pressure for water companies to justify their costs – and that means improving the experience of customers.

Ofwat recently said that investment would be 2 or 3x higher in the next regulatory period than previous periods. The cost of these investments will realistically be passed onto customers; providers will therefore have to ensure they make the right investments that lead to more reliable supplies, better service levels and improved environmental impact.

A key part of this is ensuring maintenance costs are under control. Whether it’s tower lighting units or mobile welfare units, choosing a partner that can provide best-in-class equipment with reliable service will ensure projects are not delayed – and customers ultimately experience as little disruption as possible.

3. Sustainable processes

Sustainability is one of the defining challenges of our time, and the UK’s water networks will have to be heavily altered to ensure they meet long-term environmental requirements. This transition will involve a great number of projects, and each one of those individual projects will be scrutinised in terms of environmental impact.

The water industry will therefore have to be very careful about choosing the right partners and equipment that reflect its environmental goals. Whether it’s the materials used or the mobile welfare units employed on site, every aspect of a project’s value chain must minimise carbon emissions and all other negative externalities.

4. Climate unpredictability

The UK’s unpredictable weather has always created a challenge for water providers. But as climate change occurs and weather patterns become even more erratic – not to mention more extreme – these challenges are getting worse.

In 2022, severe heat waves forced providers to ask customers to ration their water usage. Incidents like this are likely to become more frequent – as is disruptive flooding. Compounded by projections that the UK population is likely to increase by 20% over the next two decades,¹⁰ navigating increasing weather uncertainty and risk will be a defining challenge for the water sector.

While innovations like demand management will no doubt contribute, water companies will inevitably have to become more agile and flexible in their responses to weather-related problems. This requires partners like Welfare Hire that can assist in faster, more reliable servicing, providing strategic equipment across the country with unparalleled speed and expert support.

6. 7.

Access Zero – The UK’s first all-electric MEWP for lease and hire available now

The first all-electric vehicle-mounted access platforms are now available for long term hire and lease from the UK’s leading specialist in this field, Access Hire Nationwide (AHN), part of Kelling Group.  The lease / hire package, including the all-electric VMAP and full maintenance / service support, has been launched as Access Zero.

Access Zero represents a unique proposition, combining the latest vehicle-mounted access technology along with a fully managed solution, including inter alia, breakdown & recovery, 24/7/365 operational support, LOLER and servicing, dedicated account management and replacement courtesy vehicles.

“The new Renault Master ZE with CPL KL26 electric boom provides a market leading, innovative solution for those needing to work safely at height using a specialist zero emissions asset,” stated AHN Sales Director, Martin Whitehead.  “Both Access Hire and our customers are working toward ESG targets, improving on our sustainable performance, and 100% electric vehicles are the next step on that journey to net zero.”

“Access Hire has always had a long-term focus on minimizing emissions, whilst providing innovative assets that meet clients’ operational requirements,” said Stephen Moore, Kelling Group CEO.  “We have the youngest and largest fleet of modern ULEZ assets in the UK, as well as existing hybrid solutions.

“The addition of the full electric Renault Master ZE augments our ECO credentials even further. Given our experience and expertise in the sector, we are uniquely placed to advise clients on the most appropriate asset solution to meet operational needs, whilst minimising CO2 emissions and meeting core ESG requirements.”

One example of a sector keen to capitalise on greener technology is that of local authorities, who use access platforms to, for example, maintain street lighting and other amenities.  Reportedly, almost two thirds have declared that they aim to be carbon neutral some 20 years before the government’s target of 2050.1   With that in mind, the changeover to electric working vehicles is an important, but easy way to progress towards that overall net zero target.

Estimates place the number of electric and hybrid domestic vehicles on the UK’s roads at the end of 2022 at around 2-3% of the total, a growth of around 40% from the previous year.2  Growth in working vehicles, including buses and heavy-duty trucks, has been somewhat slower3, however as new technologies and batteries with increased performance are adopted, the gap in growth is expected to narrow.

With over 15 years’ experience devoted to the provision of access platforms, the AHN team provide technical advice and assistance throughout the hire process from selection of the right technology to IPAF operator training and help with advice around the use of these specialist vehicles.

All vehicle maintenance requirements, both proactive and reactive, are fully managed on behalf of the hirer by the 24/7/365 AHN Support Team, including LOLERs and regular servicing, ensuring regulatory compliance.  For assets where down time can be costly to the operator, the combination of young, modern vehicles and full maintenance support offers AHN’s partners peace of mind, with maximised asset availability.

This combination saw AHN cement its leading position in VMAP provision last year by being named as the No. 1 provider by Cranes & Access magazine for the third year running, whilst continuing to build its fleet further.

“As well as being the largest fleet in the UK, we continually invest to provide the most modern, technologically advanced vehicles, with an average vehicle age of less than two and a half years.  Keeping the vehicles in top condition provides a safe working environment as well as ensuring that they operate in the greenest way,” continued Whitehead.

“Adding electric vehicles to our fleet as soon as we could is a progression of our commitment to providing the most modern and greenest technology available for our partners.”

  1. Delivering local net zero | Local Government Association
  2. Electric car statistics – EV Data [Update: Jan 23] | heycar
  3. Trends and developments in electric vehicle markets – Global EV Outlook 2021 – Analysis – IEA

Why Training Is Essential To Operate Vehicle Mounted Access Platforms Safely

Vehicle Mounted Access Platforms (VMAPs) are an essential part of many infrastructure projects. But without the proper training, they carry a number of safety risks which can lead to delays, hazards – and potentially serious injuries. 

What are the vehicle mounted access platform safety risks?

Working from heights is always considered a health and safety risk; 123 UK workers died in 2022 as a result of falls¹. Whilst Vehicle Mounted Access Platforms present a safe and efficient way of working at height, there are still a number of other safety risks – all of which require operators to be highly trained.

Some of these are related to proper care and maintenance. If not set up or secured properly, the platform can be unstable – potentially causing it to tip over. Equally, if the vehicle is not properly maintained, sudden machinery failures can lead to accidents.

Other risks relate to operators’ skill and knowledge of the vehicle. If the operator does not have proper control over the vehicle mounted access platform, there is a risk of collision with other vehicles or obstacles – not to mention the risks to the person working on the platform.


How training mitigates the risk

Comprehensive safety training is not just a matter of legal requirement – it can actually save lives. By ensuring the operator is familiar with the proper safety procedures – as well as protocols for maintaining the equipment and noticing when additional support is required – the right training course will make your operators safer, more confident and more efficient.

Training should include information on how to properly set up and secure the platform; how to properly use the controls and safety features; and how to safely access and work from the platform. Additionally, safety training can help to prevent accidents and injuries by teaching operators how to recognize and avoid potential hazards.

But simply memorising this information is not enough – it needs to be used. And that is where most training programmes run into a serious problem.

Why training needs to use real vehicles

Sitting in a classroom or at a computer is one thing; making decisions in the moment is another. Just 12% of employees say they have been able to apply what they learned in training courses to their real-world job²

Why? Because they learn in an artificial environment divorced from their real day-to-day work. A trainee may take in all of the information, but it is less likely to stick – and far less likely to become a lasting habit that ensures consistently safe operation.

This is a common problem with operator training.  While International Powered Access Federation (IPAF) training is the industry gold-standard, few organisations are able to offer the programmes using vehicle mounted access platforms – which is exactly why Access Hire stepped up.

Access Hire helps your site stay safe

We now offer full IPAF training onsite using our market leading range of Vehicle Mounted Access Platforms. Not only does this ensure operators are properly accredited – it gives them the opportunity to learn skills specific to the vehicle they’ll be using on site.

This makes the training more relevant and helps them memorise the information more effectively. As a result, safety practices become real habits. The operator follows every safety protocol and operates the vehicle properly without even thinking – and that is what you need to keep your site safe.