The Road Haulage Association in the UK has expressed its disappointment with the report produced by London Councils reviewing the London Lorry Control Scheme.
The industry participated in this review mindful of the need to balance the need to protect people from excessive noise on the road network and the need for London to be supplied with the goods the people need.
However, the report totally side-lines the key points raised by the freight industry and misses the opportunity to improve the environment for people and businesses in London. The report does little more than seek to perpetuate a scheme from the 1980’s that is out of date with how Londoners and its businesses live today.
The report sadly also misrepresents the nature of the scheme and the dialogue that has taken place with industry.
The report claims the scheme controls movements on “specific roads” – it does not. The scheme applies to all roads in London – with a specific and limited network of roads excluded from the scheme.
The report glosses over key areas identified by industry – in particular the very limited extent of the network that is excluded from the scheme (which the industry believes is inadequate) and the hours of operation (which the industry believes is too restrictive, out of date and inappropriate).
The report overlooks the additional mileage operators are forced to drive through London to comply with the network requirements. It fails to report on the impact that the hours of operation has on forcing lorry operations to concentrate into the morning peak period after 7:00.
Commenting on the report, Deputy Policy Director Duncan Buchanan said, “The freight industry willingly and enthusiastically participated in this process. It will feel let down that the positive contribution it has made has been ignored completely. This type of approach by London Councils brings its ‘consultation’ process into disrepute.”
“The London Councils report has focused on how to promote its own scheme and its own bureaucratic and controlling perspective. It talks about how to improve enforcement, but this feels like a way that they can make more from fines from the scheme – a scheme that adds to congestion, pollution and makes London a less competitive place to do business.”
“It is not acceptable that the hours of operation of the scheme and the extent of the core network that is available for use have been put in the long grass by this report.”
The report does acknowledge that the freight industry raised concerns about the road network and hours of control, but these issues have been side-lined and no action will be taken on these for at least 18 months – if ever.
The London Councils report is proposing to investigate the development of a new “noise standard”, and possible exemptions for electric freight vehicles. It is likely any approach in this area will add to the regulation operators will be forced to comply with.