That’s the view of one contractor that has already spent £7m upgrading its fleet in London to meet emissions regulations, only to find that building site workers cannot hear its electric vans approaching.
So it has now had to spend even more money to make the vans noisy again.
FM Conway has turned to the Quiet Vehicle Sounder (QVS), produced by Brigade Electronics, which emits a distinctive sound that can be heard more loudly in danger zones top alert vulnerable pedestrians and varies in pitch and tone as the vehicle speeds up or slows down.
Pat Murphy, reactive supervisor at Conway, said: “Before retrofitting the Quiet Vehicle Sounder it was stressful driving on to site not knowing if people would hear you. It was nearly impossible, especially in the morning when we were all arriving to work.
“Now the QVS makes sure everyone knows you’re there. It’s a made a world of difference.”
The QVS turns off at 20mph when tyre-on-road noise generates enough sound that the vehicles can be heard.
But at lower speeds it emits a blend of Brigade’s bbs-tek White Sound frequencies and tonal sounds.
Conway is now looking to fit the QVS to any electric vans it adds to its growing electric fleet, making sure that the quest for clean air does not come at the expense of construction workers’ lives.