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London butcher chooses e-bike power to meet customer demand

Sustrans trial of cargo bike for businesses

Butcher delivers by cargo bike: James Palser, Sustrans; Michael Jones, Drings; Cllrs Denise Scott McDonald & Denise Hyland, Royal Borough of Greenwich & Daniel Jones from Riese & Mueller

Cargo bike versus van

Cllrs Denise Scott McDonald and Denise Hyland with Michael Jones, owner of Drings. Our project will pit the van against the electric cargo bike for cost, speed and air quality.

Butcher on electric cargo bike

Michael Jones on his new cargo bike, ready to provide a more personalised service for his customers as part of the Greenwich Low Emissions Neighbourhood scheme.

We have been working on an exciting pilot project with the Royal Borough of Greenwich and local traditional butcher, Drings, making cargo bikes the transport of choice to deliver meat and poultry to customers.

Drings’ owner, Michael Jones, is pitting his usual delivery van against a brand new e-cargo bike to see which is better for the environment as well as for his business.

We’re very proud of this Sustrans-Royal Borough of Greenwich partnership, and believe that it is a great example for other small businesses around London.

- Matt Winfield, Sustrans Director London

We set up the cargo bike scheme for Drings and have trained four butchers to ride the battery-assisted bike and are pleased to say it is now out delivering to customers’ doorsteps.

As part of the project, we’re working with Imperial College London to provide data on nitrogen dioxide and carbon dioxide emissions as well as particulate matter from both the bike and the van. We commissioned cargo bike specialists Riese and Muller who kindly loaned one of their bikes to Drings for a six-month trial. This has allowed Sustrans to invest more in monitoring and evaluating the bikes’ environmental and economic efficiency.

Electric cargo bikes help the butchers up the steeper climbs on their delivery rounds. They also mean that Drings can deliver over a larger area without the rider getting tired. A single charge powers the bike for 50 miles.

The Royal Borough of Greenwich financed the pilot scheme through the Mayor of London’s Air Quality Fund and it is one of a number of cleaner air initiatives in Royal Greenwich’s Low Emissions Neighbourhood.

At Sustrans, we’ve always known that Electric Cargo Bikes are a big win for Londoners, but the work of this high street Butcher has proved that they can meet the needs of small businesses.

- Matt Winfield, Sustrans Director London

Sustrans director, Matt Winfield said: “There’s nothing fitter than a Butcher’s dog, apart from the Butcher himself when he’s on his new cargo bike. Not only is he fitter, but he’s also better off as our testing has shown that he’s able to carry out many more peak time deliveries on his cargo bike than by van.

“Now the butcher can use his newly discovered free time to take an extra minute to chat to customers whilst on his deliveries and to provide a more personal service the big retailers can’t compete with. We’re very proud of this Sustrans-Royal Borough of Greenwich partnership, and believe that it is a great example for other small businesses around London. At Sustrans, we’ve always known that Electric Cargo Bikes are a big win for Londoners, but the work of this high street Butcher has proved that they can meet the needs of small businesses.”

Drings' owner Michael Jones said: “Sustrans has been invaluable to help us confidently switch from van to cargo bike, from sourcing the bike to training staff on the bike and best route choices. And crucially, their partnership with Imperial College will give us data about the environmental and economic performance of the bike compared to van deliveries.”

Councillor Denise Scott McDonald, Cabinet Member for Air Quality, Public Realm and Transport, said: "Many of our businesses use cars and vans to deliver goods to their customers locally. If we could transform those short trips into zero-emission cargo bike journeys, it would greatly improve air quality around the borough."

Councillor Denise Hyland, Cabinet Member for Economy, Skills and Apprenticeships, said: "This project is not just about air quality, important as that is. It is also about good business sense. In the congested streets of London, an electric cargo bike can negotiate traffic easier and not waste time, fuel and money sitting in traffic jams."

The preliminary results of the trial will be ready in December 2018.

Find out more about our work in London

Read more about how hitting cycling targets can improve air quality