ECOSTARS – How cities can get cleaner transport on their streets

By Pavlina Dravecka / Updated: 17 Feb 2015

Ten European cities and regions have decided to closely cooperate with operators of van, truck and bus fleets to improve air quality. The ECOSTARS Fleet Recognition Scheme has been developed over the last 18 months and is now ready to be rolled out by authorities across Europe.

ECOSTARS is a voluntary schemes that encourages operators to improve efficiency, reduce fuel consumption and minimise their impact on local air quality.  ECOSTARS is unique in the sense that mobility management measures are applied to the passenger, service and freight movement sectors in one scheme.

Members of ECOSTARS in Edinburgh, for example, include a bakery company, a newspaper distributor, and a backpacker travel and luxury tour operator. “To make a significant impact on air quality in Edinburgh and to preserve our city for future generations, we need operators to take responsibility for the emissions their vehicles generate”, said Councillor Mackenzie at the scheme launch.

Interested to set up a fleet recognition scheme? ECOSTARS helps authorities across Europe to get started

It is not only the project partner cities that benefit from ECOSTARS. Local ECOSTARS scheme can be implemented by any city or region looking to increase engagement with industry to reduce air pollutants and carbon emissions. Four additional schemes, inspired by existing scheme successes, have since been launched in the UK in Mid-Devon, Thurrock, Falkirk and Gedling. They have sourced different public funds for air quality, economic efficiency and carbon management!

Authorities who wish to set up their own ECOSTARS scheme are supported with a tool kit with common scheme documents, case studies which give valuable advice on expected work load and budget estimations, and training for new auditors.

Soft measures to reduce the impact of road transport on local air quality

The IEE funded ECOSTARS project is based on the first “ECO Stars” scheme developed by a partnership of four local authorities in South Yorkshire, UK, as part of a regional air quality initiative. The original scheme now covers over 5,500 vehicles and has been publicly welcomed by a number of prominent fleet operators.

ECOSTARS was subsequently developed to provide authorities across Europe with a method of environmental engagement with fleet operators. The scheme aims to achieve faster introduction of vehicles using clean fuel technologies, the promotion of eco-driving skills, and knowledge and experience transfer.

Scheme membership includes tailor-made support and encouragement. It also provides visibility and publicity for the joining fleet operator, whose operational and environmental profile will be raised.

Common scheme standards across Europe

The ECOSTARS project is establishing seven new local schemes in European cities and regions in which vehicles and operating practices are rated according to star rating criteria. The seven new ECOSTARS schemes are Edinburgh (UK), Parma (IT), Rotterdam (NE), Southeast Sweden (SE), Ostrava (CZ), Cantabria (ES) and the Basque region (ES).

“Combine growth with sustainability”

Fermin Llaguno-Mazas, General Director for Transport in Cantabria, explains why his region runs ECOSTARS: “While we are talking about a key sector for economic growth in Europe we cannot forget that road transport is a major source of emissions and energy consumption and increasingly expensive. ECOSTARS should allow us to combine growth with sustainability and raise awareness among producers on the impossibility of dissociating these two terms.”

ECOSTARS Europe is a 3 year project funded by the Intelligent Energy Europe (IEE) II Programme and started in June 2011.