Freight “absolutely essential” to London economy, says Shawcross

London needs to find new ways to tackle issues caused by its “essential” freight movements, was the message from deputy mayor of London for transport Val Shawcross as she opened the Freight in the City Expo at Alexandra Palace this morning.

Speaking at her first freight industry event in her role, Shawcross told delegates that while the mayor’s office recognised that some of its new policies would be challenging for operators, “we all need to do things differently in order to cope with the growing demands of the roads, and to continue to ensure London gets the clean and safe deliveries that it needs”.

Shawcross outlined plans to move more freight by rail and river, and said she wanted to speak to operators about retiming deliveries to outside of peak hours where possible, as well as working with the industry to achieve more consolidation of freight in London.

She also highlighted air pollution as one of the mayor’s “biggest challenges” and priorities, and that air quality “isn’t just a London problem. It is a national problem”.

Shawcross said that 79% of Londoners had supported mayor Sadiq Khan’s move to bring forward the beginning of London’s ULEZ, and that 71% supported the decision to increase the size of the zone to cover all of Greater London.

Shawcross added: “I want to make it really clear we understand that freight is absolutely, absolutely central to sustaining London’s global competitiveness.

“Part of my job has got to be working out how we can ensure that freight is embedded in how we think about London’s growth into the future, and how we do it in a modern way.

“I look forward to working with the industry in the years ahead to ensure deliveries are made in the most efficient way, in the safest and cleanest vehicles.”