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.”

Transport for Greater Manchester wants to hear about your delivery challenges

Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) has recently established a Freight Forum and opened an online survey to understand the issues facing operators in the city.

The RHA and TfGM would like to know what operational issues are faced on a daily basis, the specific location of these issues and thoughts on what can be done to improve the situation.

They would encourage operators and retailers to give their drivers and store staff, as well as management, the opportunity to have input to this survey.

If you would like to be involved or updated regarding future GM Freight Forum events and developments, you can register your interest by emailing

TNT: industry must ‘future-proof’ itself to meet the challenge of emissions legislation

TNT has said the industry needs to “future-proof” itself against changing urban legislation, as it has done with the cargo bikes it has rolled out across the country.

Andrew Lowery, TNT’s city logistics and public affairs manager (pictured, left), told Freight in the City Expo delegates yesterday:  “We’re taking this specific strategy at the moment rolling out cargo bikes and electric cargo bike solutions in cities across the country, in an effort to future proof against all the legislation that’s coming in: the clean air zones, the low emissions issue, etc.”

However Lowery added that the use of bikes for final mile deliveries was just “one of many solutions we need to look at in order to overcome the challenges we’re going to face”.

This, he said, did not just apply to London, where focus on emission lowering legislation often falls.

“This will be country-wide”, he said. “I don’t think it’s just London. London is a mature environment, but the other cities are catching up.”



Fors must be cultural, not just a ‘badge’, warns transport lawyer

Operators with Fors accreditation must not use the brand as a badge of honour to win them business, a transport lawyer has said.

Addressing delegates at the Freight in the City Expo at Alexandra Palace, Jonathon Backhouse, partner at Backhouse Jones, said Fors had to be part of a company’s culture.

“Is Fors a badge, or a culture?” he asked. “Because if it’s a badge, a tick box exercise, something that you want to say you’ve got so you can win contracts, then you’re not taking Fors seriously. It’s got to be cultural. Only then will it be effective.”

Backhouse also warned delegates to be aware of their operating environments, and the effects that growing residential areas around a haulage business could have.

He said: “If you’re in an industrial estate and housing has closed in around you, you will, if you haven’t already, begin to be impacted by the opinions of those residents.

“Every five years your O-licence is up for review, and at that review you will be expected to demonstrate you are operating in an environmentally sound way. They have the right to object and the traffic commissioner can put conditions on your licence on your operating hours, even if you have been operating at the site for years.

“So be aware of this, and be aware of your environment.”

Direct Vision Standard is sensible way forward, says FTA

London’s Direct Vision Standard is a more intelligent and rounded approach to vulnerable road user safety than previous mayor Boris Johnson’s plan to mandate extra HGV cab windows, according to the FTA.

Speaking at today’s (2 November) Freight in the City Expo at Alexandra Palace, Natalie Chapman, FTA’s head of policy for London, said the Direct Vision Standard revealed in September had won more support from the association’s members than Johnson’s scheme.

Chapman said that while the details and implications of the scheme on operators accessing the capital needed to be carefully judged, it appeared a constructive proposal.

However, “we need to be clear in regards what this means for those operators that have invested in cameras and sensors. This [investment] needs to be recognised”, said Chapman.

Chapman added that the review of the London Lorry Control Scheme, which is currently underway, was long overdue.

Grants of up to £20,000 now available for operators buying larger electric vans and trucks

The government has extended the Plug-in-Van grant scheme to larger electric vans and trucks.

Operators may now be eligible for grants up to £20,000 if they replace their larger conventionally-powered vans and trucks with electric vehicles.

The extension of the Plug-In Van grant will mean N2 category vehicles (3.5 – 12 tonnes gross weight) and N3 vehicles (over 12 tonnes gross weight) are now eligible.

Only new vehicles are covered by the grant, although it does include pre-registration conversions. These are normal, internal combustion engine vans etc that were converted to battery or hybrid versions by specialist convertors before the vehicle’s first registration.

Since 2012, the grant has been available to small commercial vehicles up to 3.5 tonnes, however sales of new electric vans have remained limited.

The Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) believes extending the scheme will stimulate demand, and consequently encourage new entrants into the electric van market.

Business and energy secretary Greg Clark said: “The electric car revolution is well underway with consumers and this funding will encourage more businesses to consider switching to cleaner vans and trucks.”

The £4m grant scheme will be reviewed once 5,000 grants have been processed, or in March 2018, whichever is earlier.

The grant amount is automatically deducted from the price of the vehicle by the dealer when it is purchased, and the dealership also completes all the necessary paperwork.

Rachael Dillon, FTA’s climate change policy manager, said: “We are delighted that government has recognised that freight operators need support as much as other vehicle users to adopt greener fuels and technologies in order to reduce carbon and contribute to improved air quality.

“The cost of an electric vehicle can be prohibitive so any financial support that government can give may allow operators to make the business case to invest.”

Dutch electric truck convertor Emoss (pictured) will be appearing at next month’s Freight in the City Expo on 2 November at London’s Alexandra Palace. Book your free place today.




Teletrac Navman launches guide to role of technology in fleet management

Telematics firm Teletrac Navman has released a free guide for operators on how technology supports fleet risk management.

The free to download document talks readers through the role technology can play in managing fleet risks.

It also provides tips on catching maintenance issues before they evolve into bigger problems and optimising vehicle checking procedures.

Additionally, the guide gives advice on ensuring drivers remain within the speed limit and making the best out of dash cam footage.

The guide is available to download from Teletrac Navman’s website, and staff will be on hand to discuss its content at the Freight in the City Expo on 2 November.

Registration is still open for the free-to-attend event at Alexandra Palace, so book your place today.

Birmingham already underway with clean air zone feasibility studies

Birmingham will get one of the first clean air zones

Birmingham City Council (BCC) said feasibility studies are already underway to identify areas with the worst air pollution and how clean air zones will be implemented.

The council’s announcement comes hot on the heels of a national consultation into clean air zone roll-outs that was launched last week by Defra.

Birmingham is one of five cities – alongside Leeds, Nottingham, Derby and Southampton – required by the government to have a clean air zone in place by 2020 to ensure compliance with UK and EU air quality legislation.

BCC said it will be consulting all affected groups, including haulage companies, taxi drivers, bus operators and local businesses to find out how air quality measures will impact them.

Councillor Lisa Trickett, cabinet member for clean streets, recycling and environment, said: “Birmingham is a rapidly growing city, with an increasing number of people choosing to live and work here, so we need to take action now to bring down pollutants including nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter which have the most impact on health.”

She added that BCC is already working to identify the worst-polluted areas, what is causing poor air quality and how it can be reduced over the next three years and beyond.

“This could include replacing older, polluting vehicles with modern, cleaner versions, discouraging the most polluting vehicles from entering certain areas of the city, and encouraging people to change their travel behaviour and consider public transport or cycling instead of their cars.”

Figures show that 891 deaths a year in Birmingham alone can be attributed to man-made pollution, mostly through transport and the increased use of diesel vehicles. By contrast, there are fewer than 30 deaths resulting from collisions on Birmingham’s roads each year.


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.”

Complying with Clean Air Zones will hit smaller HGV and van fleets hardest

Smaller haulage firms could “struggle to absorb” the costs of fleet upgrades when Clean Air Zones are created across five key UK cities, according to a Defra impact assessment published today.

The impact assessment accompanies a national consultation, launched today, to decide the best way to implement Clean Air Zones as part of the government’s drive to improve air quality.

Zones will be required in five cities by 2020 – Birmingham, Leeds, Nottingham, Derby and Southampton  – however the government said any local authority can look to introduce one should it see fit.

All Clean Air Zone cities will see the most polluting vehicles, including HGVs that do not meet the Euro-6 emissions standard, diesel buses, taxis and coaches, discouraged from entering.

Birmingham and Leeds will also extend the requirements to vans, requiring Euro-6 diesel standard or Euro-4 if petrol.

However, cars are excluded from Clean Air Zone requirements – a decision previously condemned by the FTA, which believes all road users have a part to play in reducing emissions.

Significant impact

Defra’s impact assessment finds that for smaller HGV operations and owner-operators, measures requiring them to upgrade their vehicles “could pose a significant financial impact and could lead to an increase in retail prices of the goods they carry”.

It also said research has shown that for particular sectors, such as construction haulage, it may be difficult for operators to pass on costs due to a competitive market. This could see some smaller firms “exiting the market”.

With regards to vans, Defra points out that often older vehicles are owned by small business or owner drivers, who are less likely than HGV operators to be able to offset costs.

Some operators may therefore “struggle to absorb such costs” and again leave the market.

The FTA has raised concerns over the impact of Clean Air Zone proposals, in particular the time frame for their introduction, on freight operators.

Christopher Snelling, FTA head of national & regional policy, said: “Introducing this too soon, and without support, would not only impose substantial costs on the whole logistics industry, but would significantly disadvantage small businesses that use HGVs and, most especially, vans.”

He added: “We all understand the need to continue to reduce the impact on human health of emissions, but as the proposals stand there is a real chance many small businesses will be disproportionately affected and locked out of their current work.”

The FTA said the planned timescale to launch Clean Air Zones would mean there is not yet a sufficient second-hand market for small businesses to be able to buy compliant fleet vehicles.

It therefore wants more flexibility and support for those operators that will have the most trouble complying.

Today’s consultation follows the announcement earlier this week that London plans to bring forward its Ultra Low Emission Zone introduction to 2019.