Croydon council are urging local firms to lease a cut-price electric van as part of a push to improve the borough’s air quality.

From October 2017 until 2020, companies in the borough can lease a 100 per cent electric van for up to a year.

The hire costs £143.47 per month – £200 cheaper than on the open market – and this includes vehicle maintenance, roadside recovery and replacement, as well as driver training.

The scheme is aimed at companies in Croydon and Sutton whose employees use vans most days. These electric vehicles are exempt from the Congestion Charge in central London, cost as little as 2p per mile to run and can each hold a 770kg load.

The van’s battery can be recharged at around 40 public points in 24 locations across the borough, including several along Purley Way, one in Addiscombe and at supermarkets and 10 council car parks, plus four rapid charge points at IKEA Croydon. A single battery charge lasts 80 miles.

Known as the Croydon Sutton Electric Freight scheme (CSEF), the discounted leases are available for six months or a year on four vans for businesses in Croydon and Sutton through a grant from the government’s Office for Low Emission Vehicles.

This scheme is part of a £13m programme called Go Ultra Low City that is administered by Transport for London and London Councils. This programme includes five other projects beside CSEF, such as charging points for residential streets and for car clubs plus rapid charging points, of which the next three Croydon locations are due to be confirmed by the new year.

The first vans will be on the road this autumn, and passed on every six or 12 months after that until 2020. CSEF also hopes to offer large trucks in future. Go Ultra Low has created a map of electric vehicle charging points.

For more information, contact Peter McDonald at Croydon council on 020 8726 6000 (extension 62765) or email: (Source: Croydon council press release)


A Southwark council sting and surveillance operation which uncovered a haul of 3,000 illegal skin lightening products has lead to a company director paying fines and victims surcharges  of  £25,287.

The director of pleaded guilty at Camberwell Green magistrates court to offences of breaching EU cosmetics safety laws by supplying skin lighteners containing the banned ingredient hydroquinone.

He was fined a total of £13,000 and ordered to pay costs, including a victims surcharge, of £12,287. His company was also fined £300 for the same offences.

The court heard that in June 2016 an undercover test purchase of Caro white lightening beauty cream had been carried out at the director’s shop. The product cost £14.99, was fetched from somewhere outside the shop and sold on an ‘under the counter’ basis.

Analysis showed it contained 4.3 per cent hydroquinone, an ingredient which affects pigment production in the skin, and is banned in cosmetic skin lighteners throughout the EU, because of its dangerous long term health effects.

A further test purchase was conducted in April 2017, but this time officers were carrying out surveillance and watched as a member of staff went to the director’s van to get the goods.

Camberwell Green magistrates ourt subsequently granted an entry warrant for both the man’s van and home address in East Ham. It was here in July 2017 that trading standards found and seized nearly 3,000 illegal skin lightening products.

One product called Grace Duo, was found to contain over 20pc of the banned ingredient – believed to be the highest concentration ever found by trading standards in such products.

When imposing the fine the District Judge gave the director credit for pleading guilty at the earliest opportunity, but remarked that rather than ceasing the sale of products he knew were illegal, he had sought to hide his stock and carry on regardless.

The judge went on to say that should the director come before him again for such offences, he would be sent to prison.

A council spokesperson said: “Southwark council are one of the most proactive enforcement authorities in the UK regarding illegal skin lighteners.

“Between 2002 and 2016, 19 local cosmetic suppliers were convicted of supplying dangerous and illegal skin lightening products. “Total fines and costs have amounted to some £394,000, with two suspended prison sentences.”

Cllr Barrie Hargrove, Southwark’s cabinet member for communities and safety said: “The council takes the protection of consumers extremely seriously. “These skin lighteners are illegal and very dangerous. “This is why we must take a hard line against anyone found to be selling them.”

The safety of cosmetic products is regulated by an EU Directive now implemented in the UK by the Cosmetics Products Enforcement Regulations 2013. Local authority trading standards officers have a duty to enforce the regulations

Hydroquinone works by inhibiting production of the pigment melanin which gives skin its colour. However melanin is vital to protect the skin against UV radiation so the body will over compensate by producing more melanin.

This results in a darker patchier appearance developing.

It damages the elastin strands in skin causes premature aging and weakening of the skin;
can cause neuropathy, a disease of the nervous system and can damage your liver.

It also increases the risk of the development of skin cancer from exposure to UV radiation.

To find out more about the council’s campaign against illegal skin lighteners here:   (Source: Southwark council press release)

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