Red Route price hike will unduly penalise those delivering goods into London

TfL’s plans to increase penalty charges for vehicles stopping illegally on London’s Red Routes will penalise freight operators and could drive up delivery costs across the capital.

The warning came from the FTA, which expressed “bitter disappointment” after TfL revealed its intention to increase Red Route PCNs from £130 to £160.

The RHA echoed TfL’s concern, condemning the move as a way of raising funds to pay for London mayor Sadiq Khan’s fare freeze.

The proposal, announced this week follows a TfL consultation on congestion charging and remains subject to a review by transport secretary Chris Grayling.

The FTA argued that the lack of loading bays in London means that many truck and van drivers have no choice but to park on Red Routes during deliveries.

Natalie Chapman, FTA London policy lead, said: “The plan to increase the penalty charges for Red Routes is ill-considered.

“The fact that there’s been an increase in repeat offenders suggests these vehicles are making multiple journeys into London and they could well be van and truck deliveries.”

RHA chief executive Richard Burnett said: “It’s a punishment tax on motorists and goods vehicle operators. London is one of the world’s major business centres and tourist attractions – for the city to work it needs the goods moved by the road haulage industry.

“Current policies being promoted by the mayor are increasing congestion and attack motorised mobility of all types, including the essential movers of goods.”

Chapman added: “In many cases, there is simply nowhere for drivers to stop and deliver legally. It could also be that the operating hours of loading bays and red lines do not meet the needs of businesses or residents receiving deliveries and need to be changed.”

She called on TfL to increase the number and size of loading bays and extend loading times as alternative ways to ease congestion along London’s routes.

She added that the FTA is contacting transport secretary Chris Grayling to raise its “very serious concerns” about the increase.

“Without solid evidence to support these higher charges, they could prove pointless and may end up punishing all of London’s residents and workers, who will have to pay the increased cost of deliveries,” Chapman added.

A TfL spokeswoman told Freight in the City that TfL plans to raise Red Route PCN charges have yet to be reviewed by the transport secretary.

She added:  “Our stakeholder team has engaged with the freight industry during the consultation period and its views are being taken very seriously.”

Image: PA Images