Protecting the environment
Installing and maintaining the fibre network that connects homes and businesses is a huge operation. With more than 26k commercial vehicles, we operate the second largest fleet in the UK - accounting for 33% of BT’s operational emissions. Last year our engineers travelled over 220m miles, using more than 37m litres of fuel and producing over 95k tonnes of CO2.
We understand the need to act on climate change and we’re committed to reducing our operational impact. That’s why we are helping our parent company BT Group achieve their ambition of net zero carbon emissions by 2045.
Our progress so far
We’ve created a dedicated Openreach project team, focussed on cutting fleet emissions and helping to identify alternative, cleaner technologies.
In late 2018 we signed up to the Climate Groups EV100 initiative – a commitment to accelerate our transition to electric vehicles (EVs) and make electric the new normal by 2030. We recognise that we’re dependant on the right vehicles and charging infrastructure becoming available at scale and being part of the EV100 movement helps drive that change. By early 20/21 we’ll have more than 70 Openreach electric vehicles on the road across the UK and have ambitious plans for more.
We’re also making an impact today through engagement, innovation and technology. Each year we replace around 2,500 of our older vehicles with leaner, greener engines and have worked closely with our vehicle converters to reduce the weight of internal racking. With the latest Euro6 vehicles, supported by start/stop technology and lighter racking, we're seeing a 16% improvement in fuel useage and CO2 emissions.
Reducing the impact of our fleet
Better use of telematics data is also making our drivers safer and more efficient. Our drivers can review their driving behaviours such as acceleration, braking and cornering by using a dedicated app. This has resulted in significant MPG increases, reductions in CO2 emissions and positive engagement about sustainability with our engineers.
We’re currently trialling installing lithium battery packs for our specialist ‘green packs’ for our new hoist vehicles to power a range of roadside equipment that, such as lights and blowers, are currently reliant on petrol generators. We’re also trialling new hoist vehicles with electrically operated booms – reducing air pollution and noise made by the hoist.
As we look to the future, we’re focusing on how we roll out EV’s at scale. The next phase involves proving the medium sized EV concept (new vehicles should be on the market in early 2020) and introducing some of the technologies described at scale. We also need to work through some challenges such as off-street charging and making sure home charging is from a renewable tariff.