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Delivery shift to cargo bikes could save taxpayers £4 billion a year

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If UK delivery companies shifted to cargo bikes instead of diesel vans for the first and last-mile deliveries it would save taxpayers over £4bn a year in public health and other services, according to new research by Pedal and Post.

Oxford-based low-emissions courier Pedal and Post discovered this finding by cross-referencing research papers from the Department for Transport and Just Economics.

The DfT has calculated that 33% of all urban deliveries could be done by cargo or e-cargo bikes. Just Economics found that the hidden social and environmental costs associated with diesel vans total £2.46 billion in London alone.

According to Pedal and Post’s calculations, if a third of those costs were saved from switching to zero-emissions cargo bikes, the savings in health and the environment would be £4.25 billion across England.

The costs are derived from savings from reduced congestion, less air pollution, better health outcomes for riders, and fewer accidents and greenhouse gas emissions from switching from diesel vans to cargo bikes.

 “Our research shows that this is a growing market,” Pedal and Post’s CEO Chris Benton told Zag Daily. “Businesses can see the value from saving money on deliveries, and getting them to customers quicker.

“Pollution from diesel van deliveries costs the NHS nearly £25,000 across the lifetime of the van, compared to around £150 for an electric cargo bike.”

Crowdfunding campaign

This comes as the company launches a crowdfunding campaign to expand its operations in England.

Pedal and Post have almost 10 years of operation experience in the eco-courier market and already work with established delivery companies such as DPD, Yodel and Riverford to handle their smaller packages. It uses cargo bikes to deliver 1,000 parcels a day across Oxford, saving 100,000 van miles every year.

Cycle courier provision is sporadic and fragmented. Birmingham, Manchester and Sheffield have no cycle courier services despite being some of the largest UK cities. Many smaller towns and cities such as Swindon and Reading also have no cargo bike services.

Currently valued at £2m, the firm plans to raise up to £500,000 to bolster its presence in Oxford and expand into new locations.

“By holding this share raise we are planning to expand operations to Reading and partner with new delivery companies across the South East,” said Benton.

In the coming five years, the company plans to increase its revenues to £5.5m, create 140 jobs, and reach 8,000 parcel deliveries a day to save 400t of carbon emissions.

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