Urb-it proudly opened in Bristol in 2021 – a city lauded for its independent spirit and strong association with environmental and ethical organisations. As well as being the first UK city to win the Green Capital Award, in 2019 it became the UK’s first local council to declare a climate emergency. Later that year, the city’s elected Mayor set out to achieve a carbon neutral city by 2030.
We spoke to Alistair Harvey, Urb-it UK's North and West Regional Manager, who launched the Bristol operation. He gave us an insight on his experience of operating in Bristol so far and what the city is doing to minimise impact on the environment.
Alistair - why did we launch in Bristol?
When looking to expand outside of London, Bristol was an obvious choice. This was not only due to population density of the city, something that’s important to us and the impact we can create, but also due to Bristol’s long-standing reputation as a green pioneer within the UK.
Bristol has long looked to improve its impact on the environment. It has a detailed ‘One City Plan’ which aims to have 95% of deliveries within the city centre made by electric vehicles within 10 years. With Urb-it’s fleet of couriers on foot, bicycle and e-cargo bike fleet, this vision closely aligns with our own, so it was only natural that we expanded our ethical last-mile delivery services to Bristol - a city that puts sustainability high on its agenda.
What do we provide the city of Bristol?
Here at Urb-it, we are on a mission to create a positive impact on our society and the environment through our sustainable last-mile delivery services across cities in Europe. We do this by working with retailers and the logistics sector to deliver online orders to their customers sustainably, whilst also providing flexibility and choice.
Our fleet of electric bikes reduce noise and air pollution, as well as reduce congestion on Bristol’s roads. We are a B Corp certified business, meaning that we have committed to the highest standards of environmental and social impact, which includes offering our couriers a fair wage and benefits such as access to mental wellbeing services and a digital GP.
What are the local regulations in place to enhance air quality and reduce pollution?
The Government has set legal limits for pollution in the UK. To ensure that Bristol meets those limits, the local council has plans to introduce a Clean Air Zone in the summer of 2022. In support of creating a healthier city, the government has put solid plans in place to ensure that residents are given the opportunity to work alongside them to encourage the use of public transport, switching to greener vehicles and walking or cycling for shorter journeys.
What kinds of businesses can we partner with and what areas of Bristol do you cover?
Urb-it is partnered with Yodel, one of the UK’s largest delivery companies, which has enabled us to deliver daily in central Bristol and to expand to broader areas in the city, such as Clifton. We recently opened our fulfilment centre in BS4 and so we are looking forward to partnering with more brands to deliver e-commerce parcels to their customers.
What’s your previous experience and why did you join Urb-it?
I started my career on the Amazon Graduate Scheme. This was initially as a Shift Manager before moving to Banbury to run sortation during the night shift. Following that, I worked as an Operations Manager for Hello Fresh for two years.
I joined Urb-it because it is an incredibly exciting and motivating opportunity to be able to make a difference through my work. The whole team is always determined to work together to overcome any challenges we face, and I find that hugely rewarding.
What do you do when you are not at work?
As a country boy, you will always find me out and about in the fresh air, normally with one 4-legged friend or another. In line with our push for sustainable transportation, I was recently fortunate enough to rehome a racehorse named Ballybruff.
Tell us your top 3 facts about Bristol.
While the Clifton Suspension Bridge is perhaps the most famous landmark in Bristol, the Towers were originally designed to mimic an Egyptian style, just without the Sphinxes!
Bristol began life as a town called Brigg Stow, which translates to the meeting place at the bridge in the Saxon language. The original town was listed in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle of 1051.
Legend has it that America was actually named after a Bristolian! Richard Amerike was responsible for a large part of John Cabot’s funding when he voyaged to America.
Thanks for sharing Alistair – we wish you and your team the best of luck in making Bristol healthier through Urb-it’s sustainable delivery service!