Road freight levels to be cut by 10% under London mayor Sadiq Khan’s strategy

London mayor Sadiq Khan has revealed plans to reduce road freight levels by 10% in the next decade as part of his Transport Strategy for the city.

Released this week (21 June), the strategy is under consultation until 2 October and covers a range of areas from public transport, missions, congestion and street design to housing.

It also puts green public transport, walking, and cycling at the heart of its vision, describing London’s streets as too congested and dangerous at present.

“London most become a city where walking, cycling and green public transport become the most appealing choice,”Khan said in the foreword.

While the document acknowledges the effect and necessity of reducing car use in the capital, consistent with initiatives such as the forthcoming Direct Vision Standard it singles out unacceptable road danger caused by the “dominance of large, heavy, potentially dangerous vehicles”.

While acknowledging the importance of road freight, and even stating that reductions in congestion could improve the transport of “essential freight”, hauliers will face further curbs.

Despite the city being forecast to increase from 8.7 million people to 10.5 million in the next few decades, Khan wants a 10% reduction in freight traffic – truck and van – in central London during the morning peak by 2026 (based on the current volume).

By 2020 he also wants a 5% reduction in construction traffic within the capital too, largely by either retiming servicing activity, avoiding journeys all together, and through the use of more consolidation centres around outer London.

These, coupled with ‘micro-distribution’ centres in inner and central London where deliveries are made with low or zero emission vehicles or cargo bikes – as well as more use of river and rail – are seen as key to achieving this reduction.

“The success of London’s transport system in the future relies on the city becoming a place where people choose to walk and cycle,” said Khan.

The FTA described the target of a 10% reduction in freight traffic as unrealistic, given the needs of London’s growing population.

Its head of policy for London Natalie Chapman added that the mayor’s agenda on demanding HGVs change shape to increase direct vision – a change which may cost load space, thus requiring more vehicles on London’s roads – would also make this a hard goal to reach.

“It costs so much to deliver into London that the road freight industry is already highly load efficient.

“There may be some benefits from further consolidation we can gain, but these will be outweighed by the needs of London’s larger population. The real gains in traffic management will come from private car use – if car users can be enabled or encouraged to switch to public transport, cycling or walking then London’s transport network could become exponentially more efficient,” said Chapman.

The mayor has also outlined an ambition for a zero-emission zone in central London by 2025, ahead of the ULEZ coming into force from 2019.

Highlights

  • Expansion of cycle hire scheme
  • Commitment to comprehensive cycle routes
  • Reduction in general London road traffic of 10% to 15% by 2041
  • Greater use of off-peak deliveries
  • The Direct Vision Standard and a similar standard for London buses
  • Work with large employers to redirect employees’ personal deliveries to consolidation points instead
  • Consolidation of waste and recycling via Commercial Waste Zones or Business Improvement Districts
  • London Lorry Standard to “simplify the regulatory environment for HGVs operating in London”
  • Opposition to third runway at Heathrow