Edinburgh hosts the first European ECOSTARS conference in Scotland.
The Scottish capital hosted the first European ECOSTARS Fleet Recognition Scheme partner consortium meeting in June 2011. It brought air pollution and road transport experts from 7 EU countries together to discuss how air quality can be improved through the ECOSTARS concept.
As part of the event, project partners from Belgium, Czech Republic, England, Holland, Italy, Spain and Sweden were treated to a fact finding tour on an old fashioned Routemaster bus. The bus has been kitted out to be environmentally friendly and is just one of the many projects that the City of Edinburgh Council and Lothian Buses has been working on to improve air quality in the city.
During the two day meeting, delegates came together to plan their implementations of the scheme which provides advice and support to fleet operators whilst giving recognition through a star rating for their successes so far. Attendees also shared best practice based on their own experiences of cooperative working with the freight and passenger transport industry.
The event was an opportunity for Edinburgh to showcase the improvements already made in the capital as well as to share knowledge with other countries on energy efficiency.
Councillor Gordon Mackenzie, Transport Leader, said: "We are delighted to be the first local authority in Scotland to be part of the ECOSTARS project. It shows that Edinburgh is taking a lead in Europe on trying to reduce the pollution impact of vehicles, particularly, freight traffic as it passes through the city. The Council is already working with some road haulage fleet operators about emission reductions, but we need to engage further with many more to make a meaningful impact on air quality. We are looking for fleet operators to come forward with imaginative solutions to emission reductions, and this event is part of that. We want to improve air quality so everyone can benefit from cleaner air."
The ECOSTARS project offers fleet operators a free membership scheme providing free energy efficiency assessments through a star rating. It started as a scheme in South Yorkshire to increase the number of vehicle fleets using cleaner fuel. Other aims include improving fuel management, increasing the number of freight companies promoting eco-driving and transferring knowledge between different countries.