What effect will a low emission zone in Glasgow have on hauliers?


First minister Nicola Sturgeon announced in October last year that Glasgow would become the first city in Scotland to establish an LEZ in a bid to eliminate air pollution hotspots.

Transport Scotland has said it intends to have the Euro-6-level LEZ in place by the end of this year, and that Aberdeen, Dundee and Edinburgh would follow by 2020.

However, hauliers running into Glasgow will not have to comply immediately, as the city council plans to target only buses initially; HGVs, taxis, vans, cars and motorbikes will be included at a later date.

Transport minister Humza Yousaf said: “Our position is that local authorities should be ambitious and that all vehicles, including private cars, should be included in a LEZ in a phased manner.

“Equally, low emission buses are at the heart of improving air quality and the bus sector has a key role
to play.”

Blunt instrument

But the use of an LEZ to tackle air quality has been described by freight groups as a blunt instrument that might not solve the problem.

Chris MacRae, FTA head of policy for Scotland, said: “Our stance on Glasgow, or for any other city in the UK, is that we think LEZs are the wrong tool if the objective is improving air quality. It’s seen as the solution to a problem. It is a potential solution. They are just a tool in a toolbox; they need to be considered as part of a total solution.”

Quite how Glasgow’s LEZ will affect operators is difficult to predict.

Plans are at an early stage, with so far only the Euro-6 requirement known. Transport Scotland has spent the past few years developing a national strategy, and only now is this being fed down to local councils so they can wrestle with the practicalities of implementation.

A Transport Scotland spokeswoman said it was for individual local authorities to decide the size and
scope of each LEZ, and that responses to a consultation that ended in November last year have yet to be published.

But MacRae said the retail distribution sector involved in local haulage could be hit hardest, as they tend to rely on older vehicles undertaking lower mileages. “And then there are other commercial vehicles, in utilities and specialist contractors,” he said. “The vehicles could be ancient because they don’t do very high mileages. It’s difficult to generalise for freight.”

Practical problems

Asked what concerns the FTA has about the LEZ, MacRae said: “Basic, practical ones. Details of what is included and when, and the exemptions for different categories of vehicle. If this goes wrong, and
this includes buses as well, there can be unintended consequences.

“For example, buses can’t serve parts of the city, or freight becomes too expensive to service some parts of the city. That is extreme, but the feeling from operators – certainly our members – are the classic issues from a budgetary and operational point of view; what they need to do and when.

“Is it this year? 2019? 2020? They need to know the basics. They have said 2018, but it’s not for lorries. So when is it for lorries? These are questions operators are asking.”

The RHA described the LEZ as a blanket ban that fails to take into account the needs of Glaswegians and Glasgow businesses. RHA Scotland director Martin Reid said: “We have asked the council to look at different delivery schedules away from peak times as an alternative. What we are saying is consider all options rather than coming in with punitive measures.

“There are a lot of Euro-5 trucks running around and a lot of companies using them. The majority of fleets are taking on Euro-6 because they want the greater efficiencies and so they tend to be used on longer runs; motorways rather than local deliveries. So for the shorter journeys they use Euro-5.”

For now, the RHA believes that many hauliers are sitting tight and waiting for confirmation about who will be affected, when and where.

“There is an entire industry out there that underpins the Scottish economy and the government seems to be altering the curve of natural proceedings,” Reid added.

“With that comes a cost. It’s about £100,000-plus per truck. That’s a lot for an operator of any size. There’s little doubt it will have an effect.”

Go-Ahead in talks with logistics sector for London buses to carry freight

London buses could be used to transport goods and parcels after the capital’s largest bus operator confirmed it was discussing the idea with logistics firms.

Go-Ahead, which has been running buses in London for more than 20 years and provides almost a quarter of all services on behalf of TfL, said its plan could tackle congestion in the face of falling passenger numbers.

A spokeswoman for the bus group said: “Go-Ahead is always looking at ways to maximise its assets and build new partnerships, including with logistics providers. Using our vehicles and depots to reduce congestion helps both our passengers and other road users.”

FTA head of policy for London, Natalie Chapman, said there was no single solution to improving efficiency in last-mile logistics: “We would always welcome innovative new ways to move goods around the capital as efficiently as possible,” she said.

“What we need to understand is if the business case stacks up and if there’s any commercial viability in it. It might be that it would work, but it might be a fairly niche area, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be tried out.”


Suggested changes to highway code “ill-considered”, say hauliers

cycling in London

Calls for a universal rule ensuring drivers give way when turning at junctions have been branded unrealistic and “ill-considered” by hauliers.

Backed by former Olympian Chris Boardman, British Cycling and the AA said the Highway Code needed amending because the rules about junctions are not sufficiently clear.

They called for the code to be altered so that drivers are obliged to give way when turning towards people who are continuing straight ahead.

Boardman said the proposals would eliminate confusion and offer cyclists and pedestrians greater protection.

But Jacqueline O’Donovan, MD at O’Donovan Waste Disposal, said: “This seems like a backward step to me.

“Our industry, manufacturers and TfL have worked tirelessly over the last six years, investing in training and innovation to keep cyclists and pedestrians safer, which is evident from the reduction in collisions we are now seeing.

“Placing responsibility solely on the driver completely contradicts the message of collaboration and mutual education we have worked so hard to promote. Road safety will only improve when both parties learn to work together.”

The RHA said road safety is crucial to all road user groups and they must all be consulted when establishing road safety plans.

It added that the problem lay with a lack of compliance and enforcement.

UK has more traffic hotspots than anywhere in Europe; London most congested city

The UK has more traffic hotspots than any other European country, a new report has revealed.

If unaddressed this will likely cost the economy £62bn over the next decade in lost time, Data company Inrix has claimed.

The study by the data company showed that there were 20,300 traffic hotspots in UK cities, almost 12,000 more than the next country, Germany, and more than the following seven European countries combined.

The Inrix analysis defined a road as a hotspot once congestion forces drivers to reduce their speed by 65% for at least two minutes.

It also identified that London had more traffic hotspots than any other UK destination and had an impact factor 28 times more than an average city.

Using the DfT’s own value of time calculation combined with the hotspot data, Inrix arrived at its eye-watering estimate just days after the transport secretary pledged to spend £1.3bn to relieve congestion and improve the road network.

In a separate piece of research, TomTom warned that congestion was already costing UK businesses £767m a year in lost productivity alone.

It found average journey times were 29% longer than they would be in free-flowing conditions in 2015. This was up from 25% in 2010.

“Traffic congestion may be seen as a fact of life for every driver but, cumulatively, it is taking a heavy toll on the UK economy and this should not be accepted as an inevitability,” said Beverley Wise, TomTom Telematics director.

“Making the most of billable time is key to profitability for any business, so organisations that rely heavily on a mobile workforce must look for ways to maximise the time employees spend actually doing jobs by minimising time spent on the road.”

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling announced last week that the government would spend £1.1bn on the local road network, easing congestion and upgrading the roads, plus “a £220m package of smaller improvements” for the strategic road network.
This includes improvements along 18 miles of the A69 from Hexham to Newcastle.
However, Grayling added that £70m of the investment going to highways authorities next year would be coming out of the Pothole Action Fund, “to ensure that work can start quickly to help continue improvements to the country’s roads”.

London Lorry Control Scheme review will take into account technological advances in HGV design

A wide-ranging review of the London Lorry Control Scheme (LLCS) will take into account technological advances in HGV designs when it decides whether exemptions should be considered.

Following the first steering group meeting to discuss the scope of the review, council representatives agreed that the scheme’s effectiveness, as well as its impact on the freight industry will be included.

A review of this size has not been conducted before during the scheme’s three decades and the aim is for recommendations to be put to London Councils’ (LC) transport and environment committee later in 2017.

An LC spokeswoman said: “It will look at the management of freight, evaluate how the scheme can assist with the reduction of congestion and ensure noise pollution continues to be kept to a minimum in residential areas during unsociable hours.

It will cover routing, signage, hours of operation, extent of restrictions, enforcement, permissions and exemptions, taking into account technological advances in HGV design as well as traffic management and planning techniques.”

The FTA has pointed out that LC is likely to come under pressure from mayor Sadiq Khan, who is keen to resolve the Capital’s air quality issues.

The LC spokeswoman added: “The review will aim to ensure that the scheme continues to provide essential environmental benefits and protection for

Londoners as it has done for more than 30 years and will make sure the scheme plays an integrated role with other existing and emerging freight and environmental management initiatives being led by the boroughs and the Mayor of London.”

Coalition pushes for Lower Thames Crossing decision

A coalition of businesses and freight groups have signed a letter urging the chancellor to make up his mind on the preferred route for the Lower Thames Crossing.

They say a new crossing would make a significant contribution towards two of the country’s most significant economic challenges – the need to increase productivity and levels of exporting.

The letter highlighted DfT figures, which estimated that traffic through “the highly unreliable Dartford crossings” will grow by 41% over the next 20 years.

It added: “It is imperative that we have high quality infrastructure to help alleviate this bottleneck to maintain fluidity and allow us to boost trade and compete with the continent.

“Businesses across the South East, Midlands and the North need reliable journey times to make critically important operational decisions which rely on just-in-time processes for trade and commerce.”

Signatories include DP World, the FTA, RHA, Eurotunnel and Essex Chamber of Commerce.

London Lorry Control Scheme review will start this month

A review into the future of the London Lorry Control Scheme (LLCS) will start later this month although it will not be completed until next summer.

London Councils said a steering group, made up of representatives from the London boroughs, TfL and the Greater London Authority (GLA), will meet on 24 October to discuss the review’s scope and agree who will sit on the working group.

It is expected that the FTA and RHA and the Noise Abatement Society will be on the working group.

A wholesale review of the LLCS has never been undertaken before and is intended to analyse enforcement, compliance, hours of operation and exemptions to the controversial scheme.

A London Councils spokeswoman said: “A steering group has been established to lead a review of the LLCS and the first meeting will take place on Monday October 24.

“Members of the steering group include representatives from London boroughs, TfL and the GLA.

“The steering group will help determine the scope of the LLCS review and also establish a working group to engage stakeholders affected by the scheme, providing an opportunity for participation.”

She added: “The LLCS review aims to present its findings to London Councils’ transport and environment committee in summer 2017, subject to completion of the review.”

Natalie Chapman, FTA head of policy for London and the south east, said the scheme needed to be “radically reviewed”.

She added: “The difficulty is the scheme has a lot of very local political support. One of the complications is how they get changes to the scheme, but keep local residents happy. It doesn’t give residents the protection they think they have got.”

London Lorry Control Scheme to be reviewed

A full scale review of the London Lorry Control Scheme (LLCS) will start shortly, with a possible overhaul of the timings and the vehicles that are currently exempt.

More than 30 years after the scheme came into operation, London Councils said it would review current signage requirements and the excluded route network’s boundaries, as well as “examine the current effectiveness of the scheme, compliance levels and times of operation to establish whether it is as effective as it could be”.

The announcement came as latest figures showed that 4,314 operators and 679 drivers were fined during 2015/16 for breaching the LLCS.

A spokeswoman said: “London Councils still believes that the scheme plays a vital role in controlling the unnecessary movement of vehicles over 18 tonnes on London’s roads during weekends and night times.

“How effective the scheme is and what more needs to be achieved to ensure both greater compliance and enhanced environmental benefits for Londoners will be assessed upon completion of the review.”

Natalie Chapman, FTA head of policy for London and the South East, said London Councils was under mounting pressure to look at scheme, because vehicles had become quieter and there was renewed focus on enabling HGVs to deliver at different times of day.

“There are some unintended consequences,” she added. “Some of the vehicles go on very long detours, so there’s a cost for operators, an increase in fuel consumption and an increase in emissions.

“It has an impact on London’s air quality too, at a time when air quality is a focus.”

Supermarkets and universities come together to encourage home deliveries

A research project aimed at driving down fuel emissions by encouraging home deliveries has been launched.

Three universities plus Waitrose, Tesco and Sainsbury’s have combined forces to investigate how the environmental benefits of home deliveries can be improved, with a view to developing a town-scale trial.

Professor David Cebon, director at the Centre for Sustainable Road Freight in Cambridge, said the 18-month project would concentrate on last-mile and grocery deliveries.

Despite an explosion in home deliveries over the last few years, Cebon said take-up among consumers remained relatively small.

He said: “We want to understand how we can get best advantage in terms of reduced fuel consumption and emissions by encouraging home deliveries.

“The obvious point is that shopping trips by family car are inefficient from the point of view of fuel consumption. So, if we can take 15 shopping trips and put them all into a home delivery vehicle, it takes a lot out of the system.”

The project runs until November 2017.

Operators prosecuted for breaking London Safer Lorry Scheme rules

Two companies that flouted London’s Safer Lorry Scheme (SLS) by using vehicles not fitted with safety equipment have been prosecuted and fined.

D&R Grab Hire and What A Load of Rubbish were stopped by officers and found to be in breach of the SLS traffic regulation order by having no Class VI mirrors or sideguards fitted to their vehicles.

The two companies appeared at City of London Magistrates on 9 December and were fined £500 each and made to pay court costs of £235 each.

Steve Burton, Transport for London’s (TfL) director of enforcement and on-street operations, said: “These non-compliant operators represent a small minority on our streets, we hope these prosecutions send out a clear message that we will continue to protect and secure our roads and push for the toughest penalties for anyone caught operating unlawfully.”

The SLS launched in September 2015 and ensures that vehicles weighing more than 3.5-tonnes entering the capital are fitted with sideguards and Class V and VI mirrors.

This is to help protect cyclists from being dragged under the wheels in the event of a collision and to give the driver a better view of cyclists and pedestrians.

TfL said that since the start of the SLS, 5,610 vehicles have been targeted and stopped, with 269 of those identified as non-compliant.