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TfL to trial out-of-hours delivery by lorries in London

Cycle safety one of chief reasons behind proposals which look to build on scheme that applied during Olympics

Transport for London (TfL) is to trial out-of-hours deliveries to remove lorries from the capital’s streets outside peak hours to improve road safety and ease congestion.

The proposals, which build on the system of out-of-hours deliveries developed for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games to minimise disruption and traffic jams, are contained in a document called Delivering a Road Freight Legacy.

They were outlined earlier this month at the London Freight Forum, with Mayor of London Boris Johnson commenting: “The out-of-hours deliveries during the London 2012 Games were another of those measures which initially raised eyebrows but in practice were a stonking success.

“Businesses benefited by saving money and congestion was reduced across the capital.

“It is exactly these sorts of innovative solutions we need to explore in order to ensure we balance the conflicting demand for space on London's roads and streets as our population continues to rise.”

Lorries account for around 5 per cent of London’s traffic, but are involved in around half of cyclist fatalities in the city, according to London Cycling Campaign.

Some European capitals enforce bans of some lorries on their streets during peak hours, and British Cycling and RoadPeace, among others, have campaigned for similar restrictions to be implemented in London as a means of improving the safety of cyclists.

In its Safer Streets for All document published in June this year, TfL said it would “study the experience of cities such as Paris and Dublin, where lorries over a certain size are restricted from certain parts of the city, or at certain times of the day.”

The Delivering a Road Freight Legacy report makes clear that the safety of cyclists is one of the prime motivations behind exploring the introduction of out-of-hours deliveries.

Its introduction states:

… while progress has already been made to enhance safety, the number of cycling fatalities in recent years shows that there is still much more to do.

The continuous need for safety improvements has been brought into sharper focus following publication of the Mayor’s Vision for Cycling in March, which outlines plans to double the number of cyclists in the Capital over the next 10 years.

Options to enforce higher standards 
of vehicle safety in London, including a proposed charge for vehicles without basic safety equipment, therefore need to be considered in conjunction with the planning and design of new infrastructure to provide space for increasing numbers of pedestrians and cyclists.

The trials, which follow a recommendation from the Mayor’s Roads Task Force, will see TfL partner with London boroughs and the haulage industry in an “out of hours consortium.”

Further details of that body will be published later this year, with the trials themselves due to start in 2014.

They form part of this wider package of works, which look to change the way goods and services are delivered, and were a key recommendation of the Mayor's Roads Task Force.

They are due to last two years, and TfL says the results “will be used to determine the barriers that need to be overcome in order to roll out these measures more widely.”

Issues to be addressed include whether vehicles might need to be modified, for example to reduce noise, as well as potential changes to the law that may be required.

TfL Commssioner Sir Peter Hendy CBE explained: “These trials will benefit Londoners, businesses and the freight and logistics industry.

“It's vital we harness the London 2012 Games legacy and maintain momentum while the details of the longer-term plans are developed.

“Although some of these issues will not be resolved overnight, by working together, we can build on recent successes and ensure that freight deliveries in London can be even safer, greener and more efficient in future.”

Jack Semple, Director of Policy at the Road Haulage Association (RHA) added: “The RHA is committed to working with TfL to address the challenges that lie behind the London Freight Plan.

“It is right to recognise the continuing progress made by the haulage industry and its suppliers in making operations safer and more efficient and that many factors are out-with the control of HGV and van operators.

“The concentration of demand for deliveries at peak periods of the day is a constant challenge.

“London's Out-of-Hours delivery trials will highlight the many potential benefits to be had from receiving goods at other times and at night, although the transport industry will be wary of further regulation.”

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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SForeman | 10 years ago

I see that as usual groups representing residents' interests have not been involved in the Freight Forum, or invited to respond to the Mayor's Roads Task Force consultation. Everyone wants roads to be much, much safer for cyclists. But shifting HGV and van deliveries to 11pm to 7am will have a very serious negative impact on the lives of central London residents. Some of my neighbours cycle regularly and frequently, but they also need to sleep at night. At the moment the levels of noise in our neighbourhood are above the levels that affect health, as in the WHO guidelines, night and day. Currently there are six post-midnight waste collections using our street, one of which involves torrents of bottles cascading into the back of a rattling truck, and three of which use reversing alarms at high volume. The engine noise, the crashing of every moving part of these vehicles as they zoom through residential side streets, the hydraulic lifting gear - it is impossible to sleep through these noise events. Until recently one local retailer had nightly deliveries by vehicles of various sizes, for periods ranging from half an hour to several hours. The banging and booming from moving huge boxes inside cavernous vans, the roar of barrows and trolley wheels on the pavement and road, the slamming of doors, were a nightmare for residents. Residents' efforts to get this major noise nuisance shifted to daytimes were eventually rewarded. Now it is all going to return. The effects noise has on human health and well-being are well known, and more is being researched and revealed. Children are particularly vulnerable, but their needs for sleep, and for quiet time for doing homework or relaxing, are completely ignored by the current restricted hours for noisy deliveries and collections (7am to 11pm).
Air pollution is another problem. Shifting deliveries to after 11pm is unlikely to reduce daytime air pollution to within WHO and EU guideline levels. It is during the night however that residents can open their windows, when the toxic fug has subsided somewhat. We do not need to have the night air, relatively clean at the moment, made more polluted by diesel vehicles.
Rather than reducing the quality of life in London to such a degree (how many years of being woken up six or seven times a night can people stand?), there should be recognition of the fact that London is no longer sustainable. Alternative strategies are needed, that shift the growth to other places in the UK that so desperately need it.

TR McGowran | 10 years ago

There is no mention of HGV's being banned during rush hours, but the trial is to allow HGV's to blast through the city at any hour of the day, is this better? At least before there was a lower risk of getting squashed at night.

Imagine if this was the other way round and lorries were never allowed to enter the city during rush-hours and now the TFL were planning to introduce them, into the dense traffic and unable to see cyclists properly. People would think it is madness.

congokid | 10 years ago

The "measures ... in practice were a stonking success", in which case why haven't they been introduced already instead of undergoing a further trial, which isn't even going to happen now until next year? The lives of several people using bikes in central London might well have been saved had the measures been in place earlier.

The RHA might be "committed to working with TfL to address the challenges".

But judging from its comments after the death of a cyclist in Dulwich in collision with another HGV not fitted with safety gear, we can expect the Freight Transport Association to drag its heels and campaign against any such measures.

banzicyclist2 | 10 years ago

Seems like a step in the right direction to me

KiwiMike | 10 years ago

I think this is Huge_News.

And re the concern that building sites won't be affected, I'm sure Paris et al have a good workaround for stuff that is noisy and can't reasonably be done during the night.

Noelieboy | 10 years ago

This sounds like common sense to me.
A lot of other countries do not allow inner city deliveries during daylight.

This should be the same for the motorway as well...!

antigee | 10 years ago

might be being over cynical and will admit to not having read all the linked docs above but unless construction sites start working 24hour days I don't see this having a huge impact as my understanding is that construction related vehicles are the main cause of fatalities. Other users of commercial vehicles, specifically large supermarkets, have wanted extended delivery hours for a long time but are often restricted by planning consent - looks to me like a segment of operators is getting what they want dressed up as road safety

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