Mayor of London and TfL launch freight plan for London

Mayor of London and TfL launch freight plan for the capital

The Mayor of London and Transport for London (TfL) have unveiled an ambitious plan to transform how freight is delivered in the capital while improving road safety and reducing harmful emissions.

The Freight and servicing action plan  sets out how the industry can continue to meet the freight and servicing needs of London's growing population and economy. 

Lorries and vans are vital for London's economy. Half of the value of household expenditure, around £79 billion per year, relies on road freight. However, the movements of goods vehicles in the capital have increased by around 20% since 2010, contributing to poor air quality, congestion and road danger.

Key action points in the plan include:

• 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 harmful emissions caused by lorry and van movements by launching the central London Ultra Low Emission Zone, 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.

• Making freight vehicles safer by launching the HGV Safety Permit Scheme, incorporating the world's first Direct Vision Standard for HGVs, with the first permits under the scheme to be issued later this year. 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.

Lorries and vans currently account for around one fifth of road traffic in London and about one third in central London during the morning peak, when more people use public transport, walk and cycle. TfL research suggests heavy goods vehicles are involved in 63% of fatal collisions with cyclists, and 25% of fatal collisions with pedestrians, despite only making up four per cent of the overall miles driven in the capital. According to TfL, lorries and vans account for around a third of all nitrogen oxide emissions in the capital, having a damaging impact on the health of Londoners.

Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, 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.”

Alex Williams, TfL's Director of City Planning, said: “Freight and servicing are the lifeblood of London's economy and without the industry, London would seize up. As London continues to grow, we all need to think about how we can keep freight moving whilst tackling toxic air and congestion and reducing danger to vulnerable road users. Whether through using click and collect points for online shopping, or shifting vehicle fleets to greener alternatives, we all have a part to play in making London a healthy and attractive place to live and work. We will continue to work closely with our partners and people across the capital to make our vision for cleaner and safer freight a reality.”

Natalie Chapman, Head of South of England and Urban Policy at the Freight Transport Association, said: “The freight industry delivers for London's businesses, residents, workers and visitors to ensure they have everything they need, when they need it. But as London's population continues to grow, the demands placed upon the freight industry grow in tandem; FTA hopes that the measures outlined in the Freight Action Plan will enable and support the industry to be as efficient as possible. And with residents of London encouraged to become less reliant on private cars, we can help to take those vehicles off the road, replacing them with fewer vehicles and better consolidated deliveries. 

“Many of the actions within the plan will be delivered at a borough level, so we need to see strong leadership and guidance to ensure they are implemented holistically and consistently. Without this, London's 33 boroughs may end up introducing schemes in slightly different ways, which would make the regulatory environment even more complex than it currently is for the logistics industry, a sector which underpins the capital's entire economy.”

Encouraging Londoners to choose more sustainable delivery options is key to the plan as sales online have doubled since 2012. Between 200,000 and 400,000 personal deliveries are made to offices in central London every day, with every parcel having an impact on air quality and congestion. 

The plan was launched at DPD’s new all-electric parcel depot in Westminster. DPD opened the pioneering facility, the UK's first all-electric parcel depot, in October 2018. The depot is completely emission-free for both incoming parcels, served by two 7.5t fully-electric FUSO eCanters, and for last-mile deliveries, carried out by a fleet of electric vans and micro-vehicles. DPD has invested £500,000 in the site, including extensive charging infrastructure, and the depot serves a two-square mile delivery radius in the heart of Westminster.

DPD's Chief Operations Officer, Justin Pegg commented: "We fully support the plans outlined by the Mayor and TfL.  We are working with them and a wide range of stakeholders to deliver our vision for London.  DPD's central London van fleet already meets the ULEZ standard, but we are looking to go further and create an all-electric fleet and a new network of micro depots across the capital.  Micro depots mean shorter journeys, fewer vans on the road and zero emissions. 

"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. 

"In addition to looking at a whole raft of new initiatives and vehicles in the capital, it is also about making every aspect of our core business more sustainable. DPD's deliveries are already as efficient as possible. Every DPD customer knows, in advance, exactly when we are delivering. That way, they can either be there to accept the parcel or use one of our in-flight options to deliver to a safe place, their chosen neighbour or divert to their nearest DPD Pickup parcel shop.  As a result, we deliver more parcels first time than any other carrier, which means far fewer wasted miles and repeat journeys to attempt redeliveries." 

DPD also confirmed it has signed a deal to open their third all-electric depot in Park Lane and have more electric vehicles on order.  

Justin Pegg continued: "We've just signed a deal with Q-Park which will enable us to open our third all-electric micro depot.  Westminster and Shoreditch are up and running and performing really well and our plan is to open eight such sites in total in central London. Finding the sites is a challenge due to rents in London, so we are actively looking for strategic partnerships with landlords. Getting enough vehicles, fast enough is another issue. I'd hope that the vast majority of the vans we buy going forward will be electric, but we are pushing manufacturers to make more right-hand drive vehicles available, more quickly."