The London Freight Forum has released details of the latest developments regarding trial schemes for out of hours collections and deliveries in London as part of a wider transport strategy in and around the nation’s capital. The Forum meets biannually and brings representatives from the Freight Transport Association (FTA), Road Haulage Association (RHA), and other industry bodies together to discuss issues concerning transport operators, businesses, trade associations, regulators, and highway authorities.
Discussions will focus around the idea of increasing the amount of freight transport available outside the busiest time of day, and stems from the success of similar operations seen during the London 2012 Olympics. The hope is that it will help to reduce congestion and encourage quicker transportation of goods. Transport for London (TfL) will be working in tandem with the industry partners over the course of the next two years, and hope to roll out the trials in early 2014.
The trial scheme is the first step in the development of a wider, more long-term freight strategy in London. The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said, “The out-of-hours deliveries during the London 2012 Games were another of those measures which initially raised eyebrows but in practice were a stonking success. Businesses benefited by saving money and congestion was reduced across the capital. It is exactly these sorts of innovative solutions we need to explore in order to ensure we balance the conflicting demand for space on London’s roads and streets as our population continues to rise.”.
Reviews of the out-of-hours trials will be carried out by the TfL, FTA, RHA, along with representatives from key boroughs, retailers, and London Councils. One of the main goals of the review will be to see how the measures can be delivered more widely in the longer term without causing any unnecessary disruption to residents. It will also look to examine what vehicle modifications or legislative changes, if any, need to be made.
Further to this, surveys will also be carried out in the High Street to establish what limitations there would be to changing delivery times at certain locations, along with any operational or financial barriers that might be encountered.
Sir Peter Hendy CBE, TfL Commissioner, had this to say, “These trials will benefit Londoners, businesses and the freight and logistics industry. It’s vital we harness the London 2012 Games legacy and maintain momentum while the details of the longer-term plans are developed. Although some of these issues will not be resolved overnight, by working together, we can build on recent successes and ensure that freight deliveries in London can be even safer, greener and more efficient in future.”