Streets ahead

Written by: Editorial staff | Published:
Johnston's C201 street cleaner operating in Cardiff

RWW takes a look at street cleaning, from social enterprise mySociety’s FixMyStreet app to some of the latest machines on the road today

Not-for-profit social enterprises, technology and a sense of civic responsibility might seem unlikely partners, but there is a successful scenario already in operation that belies this prejudice.

mySociety is a UK-based not-for-profit social enterprise whose raison d’être is to build online technologies that “give people the power to get things changed”.

CEO Mark Cridge says: “We believe that strong democratic accountability and a thriving civil society are vital to our common welfare, and that these only survive when people engage with government and communities.”

Essentially, the social enterprise creates platforms which aim to give citizens the power over areas, identify issues and make it easier to change the relationship with an issue and improve the community.

“You need to start with the citizen and understand what they are trying to achieve. Have you given them permission to speak out? Many groups feel they don’t have ability to draw attention to issues. How do you use digital tools to improve that situation? The internet can lower the barriers to taking the first civic or democratic steps in a citizen’s life and it can do it at scale,” continues Cridge.

One of mySociety’s tools is an app called FixMyStreet, where people are given the opportunity to report issues in their local community; for instance, when rubbish on pavements needs collecting.

According to the CEO, people don’t even need to know which authority is responsible for their problems – they simply mark it on a map on the app, fill in a few details and send.

“Councils respond to the reports as they would to any other email,” explains Cridge.

Empowering people to have a say on issues in their towns and cities, such as sweeping up leaves in the autumn and collecting discarded packaging, could provide the vital link
between the general public, local authorities and contractors.

And manufacturers of street-cleaning vehicles are keen to let both public and private clients know that there is a vast choice of kit available on the market to fulfil their street-cleaning needs, thus responding to residents’ calls for cleaner streets.

City operator

Compact sweepers produced by Johnston are reported to be operating in major cities throughout the UK, with Johnston machines sweeping in London, Manchester, Edinburgh, Liverpool, Belfast, Aberdeen, Dublin, Cardiff and Leeds. In Glasgow city centre alone there are said to be 29 CX201 Compacts.

Now Birmingham City Centre is the latest to opt for Johnston machines, with 31 CX201s supplied by Dawsonrentals joining its sweeper fleet.

“The news confirms Johnston’s bestselling compact as still the popular choice for city centre sweeping, its manoeuvrability, high performance and clean air technology perfectly suited to this type of work,” says a company spokesperson before adding: “The latest Euro 6 C201 Compact, launched 10 months ago, is definitely our best compact yet, with lowest-ever emissions, best ride and easiest maintenance. It’s the smallest in its class too, shorter than all other Euro 6 Compacts on the market, which means it retains the Johnston Compact’s renowned manoeuvrability.”

Euro 6 sets lower limits on four emissions measurements – carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, nitrous oxide and particulates. The VM Euro 6 engine selected for the C201 is reported to produce significantly lower levels of all these emissions, including a reduction
of 87% in hydrocarbons and mononitrogen oxides – said to be great for air quality in
low-emissions zones.

“Customers throughout the UK are finding that the small turning circle and front-facing brushes of the C201 are ideal for city sweeping on narrow streets and busy pavements. With short transfer distances and sweepers going into work mode soon after leaving the city depot, the C201 also offers significant fuel savings over other compact sweepers in its class,” adds the spokesperson.

These fuel savings are claimed to help to reduce running costs by as much as £40-60
per sweeper per week, which for councils operating large numbers of sweepers, the savings are amplified and are hard to dismiss, says the company.

The C201 is reported to offer other features which provide higher productivity for users in the city environments. According to Johnston, the top-mounted wanderhose is easy, safe and fast to deploy in comparison with other rear-stored systems, while the C201 jet-wash system is deployed from the kerbside, keeping the operator safely away from traffic on busy roads. “Both additions offer fast and easy use, allowing a busy city sweeper operator maximum productivity and less set-up time to perform regular tasks,” confirms the company spokesperson. “The new C201 Euro 6 and stage 3b options have transformed ride and handling over the Euro 5 models and are far better for longer transit distances. Operator feedback has been very positive to the new improvements, making the versatile little machine one of our top-selling sweepers in 2016.”

Keeping up appearances

London Luton Airport, currently the subject of a planned £110m redevelopment, has opted for a newly delivered Street King 660 truck-mounted sweeper from Peterborough-based sweeping specialist Aebi Schmidt, which the street-cleaning specialist says is perfect for keeping up appearances.

London Luton Airport (LLA), owned by Luton Borough Council, bought the new Street King 660 late last year to sweep the airport’s terminal frontage, car parks and roadways as part of a move to improve the appearance and image of the airport from a user perspective.

Head of airside, Liam Bolger, who has total responsibility for all airside operations at LLA, including runway inspections, stand planning, summer and winter operations and all safety aspects, says the Street King has proved ideal for the task it was selected for.

“We have a relationship going back almost 20 years with Aebi Schmidt and already use one of their runway sweepers and a Swingo, so we knew the levels of reliability and customer care we could expect with the Street King. We wanted a medium-size sweeper that was manoeuvrable, easy to operate and which looked good around the front of the airport from a passenger point of view. The Street King has ticked all our boxes.

“The team love it, it’s very easy to drive and to operate, thanks to the ES control panel, and it has certainly proved man enough to tackle our car parks, roadways and frontage,” adds Bolger.

Launched last summer, the Street King is designed to fit any standard two-axle sweeper chassis, and is reported to have already attracted orders from new and existing customers who are said to have been won over by faster working times and lower operating costs.

“It is also extremely operator-friendly thanks to Aebi Schmidt’s cutting-edge ES control panel which, through a highly visual seven-inch touchscreen, is not only easy to use, intuitive and completely flexible, but its simplicity reduces training to a minimum,” states Richard Bryant, managing director of Aebi Schmidt UK. “With the Street King, we have a compact, flexible design, high hopper capacity, clean engine technology and superb driver comfort which combine to deliver our over-arching objective of making it as easy to operate as possible from a driver point of view.”

New Generation

Stock Sweepers, manufacturer of truck-mounted road sweepers, has delivered the first ‘New Generation’ machine featuring a rear suction system.

The Gloucestershire-based company has recently introduced a new model of road sweeper to its range – The QuadVac. Said to be equally as heavy-duty as the other sweepers in the line-up, the QuadVac has been designed to be as operator-friendly as possible and, according to Stock Sweepers,it is built to last.

The QuadVac’s rear suction system consists of two large nozzle boxes and a further two smaller side suction boxes mounted to the chassis via the tow frames. With this latest version being fitted to the rear of the robust and capable machine, it’s cleaning power and efficiency have been greatly increased, says Jeff Stock, managing director of Stock Sweepers.

The system has been enhanced and refined over several years. Back in 1998 while operating a fleet of road sweepers, Stock fitted an early version to one of his machines.

“Already, the design was superior to anything that was currently available – the intake tubes entered the underside of the body, rather than the rear door, the design met the requirements of the changing underrun regulations at the time and has been adopted by many other manufacturers since,” explains the managing director.

“Stock Sweepers has found that demand for the concept is steadily growing and the company is receiving lots of enquiries from operators keen to benefit from the QuadVac’s rear suction system.”

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