Mayor to explore freight ban or charging in bid to improve London’s roads

Boris Johnson has called on TfL to identify the “potential benefits and challenges” of a freight ban or charge on HGVs in central London during peak times.

His directive comes shortly after the London Assembly members voted unanimously to introduce a rush-hour lorry ban in the capital.

The feasibility work will form part of a package of reform measures aimed at ensuring the long-term success of the capital’s roads.

More than 90% of freight in London is transported by road, with goods vehicles accounting for 30% of traffic during morning rush-hour.

The mayor has asked TfL to look at better ways of managing freight, such as options for banning or charging certain vehicles at certain times of the day, and more incentives to encourage use of consolidation centres.

In addition, TfL will look to streamline payments for the various charging schemes that already apply in London such as the LEZ and Congestion Charge, as well as future tolls proposed for the Blackwall Tunnel and new Silvertown tunnel.

This would be combined with a proposal to devolve the £500m in VED paid by Londoners each year to enable TfL to spend the revenue on local roads, as it is currently spent on the Strategic Road Network outside of the capital.

A network of smaller tunnels and ‘flyunders’ will also be explored to relieve congestion and free up land.

One million extra road trips per day are being added to the London’s transport network every five years, with the do-nothing scenario seeing congestion boosted by 60% over the next 15 years in central London, 25% in inner London and 15% in outer London.

A report produced by New London Architecture, in collaboration with TfL, looks at the history of the capital’s road network and proposes a number of possibilities to improve streets for the future.

It suggests that drawing upon the experiences of other European cities “grappling” with the challenges of air quality, safety and congestion could be useful for London: “For example, Paris, Warsaw and Madrid have introduced bans for HGVs within their central areas. The largest scheme, in Paris, was introduced in 2007 to tackle poor air quality, and operates between 5pm and 10pm.”

Lib-Dem mayoral hopeful Caroline Pidgeon last month called for a rush-hour HGV ban as part of her proposed freight strategy for London.