London mayor Sadiq Khan has set out plans to cut the number of lorries and vans entering central London in the morning peak by ten per cent by 2026, according to his new Freight and servicing action plan.
In his introduction to the plan, Khan said: “Freight is essential for London’s economy but for our future health and prosperity we need to be smarter about how we manage the millions of van and lorry journeys each week. By creating a pan-London network of micro-distribution centres and rolling out innovative click and collect points at more Tube stations, we will enable more commuters to collect packages near their home – helping reduce congestion across our city.
“Together with the introduction of our world-leading Direct Vision Standard and supporting businesses to switch to electric vans and cargo bikes, we will make freight more efficient while also reducing road danger and cleaning up London’s toxic air.”
The plan sets out a number of key actions, including:
- Working with boroughs to better coordinate the control of freight movements on London’s roads, including supporting London Councils’ review of the London Lorry Control Scheme, which helps manage noise nuisance from the largest lorries during unsocial hours and allow more deliveries where appropriate to take place during off-peak hours
- Supporting increased use of water and rail by protecting and reactivating wharves and working with Network Rail to take advantage of opportunities to grow rail freight where possible
- Reducing emissions caused by lorry and van movements by launching the central London Ultra Low Emission Zone next month, which will bring in stricter exhaust emission standards for most vehicles, including vans and lorries, and supporting boroughs in introducing local zero emission zones. TfL guidance will set out a clear process to boroughs for introducing zones to tackle pollution hot spots across the capital
- Launching the HGV Safety Permit Scheme, incorporating the direct vision standard for HGVs. TfL will also work with regulators to bring in additional mandatory safety equipment for vehicles where appropriate, including new technology to prevent vehicles being driven under the influence of alcohol and autonomous braking systems to reduce the risk of collisions with pedestrians.
Heavy goods vehicle traffic in London, measured in vehicle kilometres, has been falling steadily over the past 20 years, and Transport for London predicts that the decline will continue, so that by 2041 HGV kilometres will be six per cent lower than in 2015.
However, van traffic has grown dramatically over the past five years and expects it to grow strongly so that by 2041 van kilometres will be 43 per cent higher than in 2015.
The action plan says there is only anecdotal evidence of growth in deliveries by motorcycle, bicycle and on foot. “We will seek to gain a better understanding of their growing contribution to deliveries and servicing in London.
TfL recently awarded six business groups a share of £230,000 funding for projects that make freight and deliveries more efficient. Schemes range from an electric freight consolidation centre at Borough Market, to underground waste storage containers in Vauxhall and the promotion of cycle freight in the London Bridge area.
TfL is currently accepting applications from BIDs and Business Partnerships for another round of funding from the scheme, with applications closing on 19 March 2019.
The mayor’s plan was launched at DPD’s new, all-electric depot in Westminster. DPD chief operating officer, Justin Pegg said: “We fully support the plans outlined by the Mayor and TfL.
“While we already have two all-electric micro depots open, there are still challenges to be overcome in terms of electrical infrastructure upgrades, site availability and the supply of electric vehicles on the scale we need for an all-electric fleet across the whole of central London. But by working in partnership with TfL, landlords and the other major stakeholders, we are well on the way to making deliveries more sustainable and safer.”
A group of business organisations including the Freight Transport Association have called on Sadiq Khan to appoint a dedicated Freight Commissioner for London to ensure that policies are implemented consistently across London’s 33 boroughs.