DfT preparing for national roll out of lane rental scheme to cut congestion


The government is now considering the national roll out of a lane rental scheme, which could see councils charge utility companies up to £2,500 a day for carrying out roadworks at peak times.

The decision follows the successful piloting of the lane rental scheme by Kent County Council and TfL, which reported significant cuts in the disruption caused to drivers during roadworks.

Both trials, which were due to end in March 2019, have now been extended indefinitely by the DfT.

The TfL and Kent trials found the scheme discouraged utilities from carrying out roadworks at peak times and incentivised them to collaborate on works to avoid the same stretch of road to be dug up twice.

TfL’s pilot scheme reported a 55% decrease in serious and severe congestion caused by planned utility works in 2015/16, and a 616% rise in the use of collaborative work sites, compared with the 2010/11 baseline.

The average number of days in which disruption was avoided also rose 221% from 110 to 353 in the same period. Kent reported similar results from its pilot scheme.

Announcing the extension of the two pilot schemes following a consultation on the subject that attracted positive support, DfT confirmed that it is “considering rolling out the lane rental scheme to other areas in England”.

It added that the roll out would begin in 2019.

Image: Shutterstock

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

£220m Clean Air Fund to help local authorities tackle air pollution

A new Clean Air Fund will give financial support to local authorities attempting to address air pollution in their areas.

The £220m fund, announced by Philip Hammond in the Autumn Budget, will be paid for by higher Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) on diesel cars bought after 1 April 2018.

Hammond emphasised that that the VED rise would not apply to or affect van drivers.

A consultation into what the fund could support has been launched in conjunction with Hammond’s Budget statement.

He said: “The tax system can play an important role in protecting our environment.

“We owe it to our children that the air they breathe is clean.”

The Autumn Budget also announced a new study on the future of freight infrastructure in the UK, to be published in Spring 2019.

The NIC’s study will look at urban congestion and decarbonisation, as well as how freight can harness new technologies such as platooning.

A Transforming Cities fund for the Northern Powerhouse also played a part in Hammond’s Budget, which will focus on improving transport in UK cities

The £1.7bn from the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund will target productivity-driving projects that improve connectivity and reducing congestion in the cities.

Half of the money will be distributed among the combined authorities with metro mayors, which were elected earlier this year.

The West Midlands will receive the largest chunk of this with £250m. Greater Manchester will get £243m; £134m will go to Liverpool; £80m for the West of England; £74m for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough and £59m for Tees Valley.

The other half of the Transforming Cities fund will be distributed through competition for project funding.


Martrans Trailers to exhibit new urban Walking Floor trailer at Freight in the City Expo

Martrans Trailers is preparing to impress visitors to the Freight in the City Expo 2017 with a new compact version of its Walking Floor trailer, designed to give greater maneuverability than traditional straight tippers in tight urban areas.

The Compact V Floor Walking Floor trailer is targeted at companies transporting aggregates and coated tarmac materials.

The body, which can be adapted to any make of vehicle, is fitted to an eight wheeler rigid DAF chassis with a 5.1 wheel base to keep the vehicle compact.

It has a rear steer back axle to aid maneuverability in confined spaces which lifts when the vehicle is empty to relieve wear and tear on road surfaces.

Martrans Trailers, which is a subsidiary of Paneltex Group, developed the trailer for ABH Haulage of Mansfield.

The brief was to create a Walking Floor trailer which could give maximum payload and be able to deliver into cramped urban areas, sites with limited space or access, and areas with overhead power cables or services. The build took 20 weeks.

Morris Abbott, site and trailer development manager for Paneltex Group, said the Compact V Floor Walking Floor trailer stands out from the competition by being able to take almost the same payload as a straight tipper.

“One of the biggest problems is the reduction in payload to 18-tonnes in previous rigid tipper vehicles, which requires more vehicle movements than the traditional tipper, which has a 19- to 20-tonne payload.

“By getting the payload on this vehicle to close to 19-tonnes, we have gone a long way to reducing that problem.”

He added: “The other advantage is the vehicle’s suitability for road and rail tunnel work which unlike traditional tippers, which have to leave their load at the mouth of the tunnel can deliver into the tunnel, eliminating all that extra movement to feed the pavers.”

Abbott added that Martrans is seeing strong interest in the Compact V Floor Walking Floor trailer with a steady stream of orders.

  • See the Compact V Floor Walking Floor trailer and tonnes more at the Freight in the City Expo 2017, taking place at Alexandra Palace on 7 November. Register for your free place today.

Utility companies face hourly roadwork fee in bid to reduce congestion


Plans to introduce hourly lane-rental charges for utility companies when roadworks are carried out are in the pipeline after pilot schemes in London and Kent saw a decrease in congestion.

The proposals, published this week in the DfT consultation paper Roadworks: the Future of Lane Rental, seek to cut the number of roadworks on England’s roads to reduce pollution and congestion.

The government estimates 
2.5 million roadworks are carried out in England every year, costing the economy approximately £4bn.

The pilot scheme, operated by TfL, has reported a 55% decrease in serious and severe congestion caused by planned utility works in 2015/16, and a 616% rise in the use of collaborative work sites, compared with the 2010/11 baseline.

The average number of days in which disruption was avoided also rose 221% from 110 to 353 in the same period.

The consultation paper said Kent saw similar results after its pilot, with the local authority reporting more collaboration and improved road user satisfaction, as well as a reduction in congestion.

The government is now considering rolling out the model nationwide, but unlike the pilot schemes, which charge daily rates of up to £2,000 for road closures and £800 a day for lane closures, local authorities would charge hourly lane-rental fees.

Proposed options include limiting the scheme to the London and Kent pilots; rolling out lane rental to all local authorities; and allowing councils to use super permits costing about £1,000 and charge increased fines for delays rather than lane-rental charges.

Launching the consultation, transport secretary Chris Grayling said: “These proposals would give councils greater powers to ensure utility companies avoid carrying out works at the busiest times and on the most popular routes.

“This would not only improve journeys and cut congestion but also save businesses from the increased costs they incur as a result of traffic on our roads.”

RT Keedwell buys urban Montracon trailers

RT Keedwell has put into service its first urban delivery vehicles, with two new 9.7m length Montracon trailers.

Replacing a 17- and 26-tonne rigid vehicle, the operator said it chose the urban trailers “as we feel they are more maneuverable and more versatile” than their predecessors.

The trailers will predominantly distribute pallets in Glasgow and Somerset.

They are mounted on second-hand Mercedes-Benz Axor tractor units, which Keedwell said it chose because they will cover relatively low mileage.

The trailers are fitted with tail lifts and rear steers. The operator said it was too early to say how the vehicles were performing.

Capital needs dedicated freight commissioner, says London Chamber of Commerce and Industry

London needs a dedicated freight commissioner to meet the growing logistical demands of the capital, according to the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI).

The organisation said that while it supports London mayor Sadiq Khan’s plans to tackle congestion and air quality in the city, they need to be complemented with work to support London’s growth.

The capital’s population is predicted to grow from 8.6 million to 10 million by 2030, which the LCCI said creates a need for attention when it comes to goods deliveries. Keeping the city supplied “doesn’t just magically happen”, it said.

TfL does not currently have a dedicated freight department; it was integrated into day-to-day operations last year.

Natalie Chapman, deputy chair of the LCCI’s Transport Committee and head of policy for London, said:

“We are looking at a rapidly expanding population in London, which means not only do all these people need to be able to move about but they also require access to all the essential goods and services they want and need.

“People living in and visiting London expect to be able to buy their morning coffee, visit the shops and find everything they want in stock and also have a wide restaurant choice.

“This doesn’t just magically happen. Shops and restaurants have to be supplied and stocked and that means freight and logistics have to be properly co-ordinated.”

TfL mulls London Lorry Standard in response to Mayor’s Transport Strategy

TfL is exploring whether a combined London Lorry Standard could meet the mayor’s goals around the environment and vulnerable road-user safety, while making it easier for hauliers to comply.

Contained within the Mayor’s Transport Strategy for London, the single standard appears to be an attempt to unify the recent proliferation of standards for the capital such as the Safer Lorry Scheme, incoming Direct Vision Standard and tightening of emissions requirements to meet the ULEZ.

A TfL spokesman told Freight in the City: “The draft Mayor’s Transport Strategy has made his vision for a fairer, greener, healthier and more prosperous city clear.

“There are a wide range of policies and proposals that recognise the important role the freight industry has in both achieving this vision and the continued sustainable growth of London.

“To support this, TfL is exploring how a combined London Lorry Standard could reduce both the environmental and safety impacts of deliveries in London, so we can bring up the standards of vehicles while making it easier for operators to comply,” he said.

The spokesman added that TfL will also explore how it can work with other UK cities to widen the uptake of any new standard.

The transport strategy contains a host of policy points affecting road transport, including an ambition to reduce freight in central London by 10% – based on current levels – during the next decade.

FTA cautious over road tolling proposals for London

The FTA has given a guarded welcome to proposals from London mayor Sadiq Khan to consider road charging based on elements such as distance and vehicle emissions to replace measures such as the congestion charge.

Contained in the Mayor’s Transport Strategy, the FTA said such a move could be positive for freight operators as long as it didn’t add cost.

Natalie Chapman, FTA’s head of policy for London, said: “The congestion charge has played a role in suppressing traffic demand in central London, but the FTA has always argued it is a blunt tool that fails to recognise the essential role freight plays in serving London’s businesses, residents and visitors.

“New and emerging technology could play a pivotal part in providing a more sophisticated system that accounts for the essential role of the vehicle and the time of day and incentivises cleaner vehicles.”

Chapman added: “We need to ensure any changes to road charging promote more efficient use of the transport network, and are not simply taxes by another name adding cost to operating and living in London.”

The newly published Mayor’s Transport Strategy covers a wide range of issues including the controversial goal to reduce road freight volume by 10% by 2026.