Banning HGVs from city centres is not best option for improving road safety, says FTA

Banning HGVs in city centres during peak hours would not be the most effective way to protect cyclists and pedestrians, the Freight Transport Association (FTA) has warned.

Speaking in response to reported discussions between the prime minister and the All Party Parliamentary Group on Cycling last week about investigating a series of measures to improve cyclist safety, which included exploring the feasibility of a peak-hour lorry ban, FTA head of urban logistics Christopher Snelling said: “Even a medium-sized lorry would have to be replaced with 10 vans – which means overall safety would not be improved, let alone the emissions and congestion consequences.

“It has to be remembered that we don’t choose to deliver at peak times on a whim – our customers need goods at the start of the working day.”

The FTA added that it had written to the prime minister on the issue of cycle safety and is having ongoing discussions with the Department for Transport officials over the best ways to improve safety for all road users while preserving efficiency.

Snelling said: “What we are looking at is the safety of everyone.  For example while early morning is rush hour for cyclists, the pedestrian peak is later. Forcing deliveries outside morning peak would interact with another group of vulnerable road users.”

He added that there were a number of measures would be a better approach to making busy city roads safer.  These include:

  • Increased targeted enforcement against HGVs and drivers that do not comply with safety regulations in key areas such as London;
  • Improved road infrastructure, such as road surfaces and junctions;
  • Tipper vehicle operators to commit and work to the Construction Logistics and Cyclist Safety (CLOCS) standard;
  • Incentives from government to make lorries with better visibility more available and commercially viable;
  • Allowing deliveries operators to work outside the peak, such as easing night-time restrictions like the London Lorry Control Scheme (that ends at 7am each morning);
  • Progressive improvement of safety standards for vehicle equipment from DfT, in line with what is possible for industry.

The FTA said all road users have a role to play in improving road safety, with better awareness, training and behaviour needed on all sides.

“The number of HGVs involved in fatalities in the UK has halved in the last 12 years, which shows the success of the progressive approach to improving safety,” said Snelling.