Find out how we helped Bristol City Council to meet legal limits for pollution within the shortest possible time through a clean air zone procurement

The requirement

Bristol is the largest city in the South West and one of the 10 ‘core cities’ in Great Britain. Bristol’s population is expected to reach half a million by 2031.

Like many urban areas, traffic congestion within the city contributes to concentrations of nitrogen dioxide (NO2), a major source of air pollution. There is clear evidence from Public Health England that these emissions are damaging public health.

Regions and cities across the UK have a moral and legal obligation to improve air quality. In Bristol, efforts to improve the city’s air quality started in 2001 with its first air quality management plan. Despite this early intervention, the city’s residents have faced pollution levels that regularly exceed legal limits for NO2.

In 2019, Bristol City Council approached us to seek support in procuring key elements of a clean air zone to achieve compliance with legal NO2 limits.

A clean air zone is a specific location that aims to reduce public exposure to nitrogen dioxide through:

  • restrictions on the highest polluting vehicles
  • encouraging the use of cleaner vehicles
  • encouraging people to walk, cycle or use public transports

Solution

Our team of procurement experts supported Bristol City Council with early market engagement and recommended publishing a Request for Information (RfI) to engage with market leading suppliers and identify available solutions. Our Traffic Management Technology 2 framework (TMT2*) was selected. Market engagement through this framework provided council staff with valuable insight into the capability of new clean air zone technology. Information from the RfI, and a public consultation provided the council with the inputs they required to validate their project submissions and proceed with their funding and applications.

Following the conclusion of the RfI and the successful allocation of funding, the council published their Invitation To Tender (ITT). The exercise was conducted through our eSourcing tool, which simplified the customer and supplier experience by managing the ITT documentation.

The competitive process with further competition ensured that quotes provided the best value for money. The rigorous evaluation process led to local Bristol based company, System Engineering Assessment (SEA) Ltd contracted to support implementation of the city’s Clean Air Zone, with deployment of the company’s ROADflow Fusion technology.

*Our Traffic Management Technology 2 (TMT2) framework has been superseded by the Transport Technology & Associated Services framework (RM6099) – this new framework builds on the success of TMT2 with an expanded range of transport technologies and services for the aviation, road, rail and marine sectors.

Outcome

Bristol’s clean air zone, which will go live in September 2022, will see installation of cameras for number plate recognition and identification of bus lane infringements, complete with an on-site maintenance package and a back-office data management system. The solution will also impact traffic signal timings to improve traffic flows and increase priority for buses at traffic signals.

No vehicles are banned from entering the clean air zone but older and more polluting vehicles have to pay a daily charge for travelling within the zone. Enforcement of restrictions on the highest polluting vehicles will encourage the use of cleaner vehicles and help motivate people to walk, cycle or use public transport more.

Niotia Ferguson, Category Business Partner – Services & Resources (including ICT), Bristol City Council, commented:

The use of the Transport Technology & Associated Services framework (RM1089) enabled us to reduce the timeline that would have been required if we had carried out an open tender process. Having approved suppliers on the framework that have already been robustly evaluated and selected gave us confidence that we would achieve our desired outcome.

James Williams, Head of Business Winning, System Engineering Assessment Ltd, commented:

Bristol City Council utilised the RM1089 framework for the competition. The framework enables a streamlined process to take place as SEA had already pre-qualified. This allowed our staff to focus on designing an innovative solution for the customer across technical and contract delivery, providing real value for money. The use of a common commercial framework (NEC3) meant that SEA were aware of the contract to be used ahead of the competition, which resulted in a smoother contracting process up to contract award.

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