London Councils’ transport committee chair was unable to explain what "light touch" enforcement will actually mean during the Olympics at a select committee evidence session last week (23 May).

Responding to Transport Committee member Paul Maynard’s call for clarification over the issuing of Penalty Charge Notices (PCN), Catherine West said the capital’s councils had to strike a difficult balancing act between looking after residents and keeping the city running.

West said: "Certainty over regulations? Clearly the freight industry understands what the regulations are. We will enforce but we wouldn’t want to be over-efficient in exercising our duties – particularly around businesses in the hospitality industry."

Maynard later asked why there was no consistency amongst the boroughs with regards to enforcement policy.

West, head of Islington Council, said that with 32 London Boroughs, there were many different interpretations and approaches. "We are trying as London Councils to achieve this [consistency]."

Natalie Chapman, head of policy for London at the FTA, told MPs how the association remained delighted that the threat of a hike in PCNs to £200 for the Games had been defeated in March.

"It would, [however], be no good if PCNs remain at £130 but are issued like confetti," she warned.

James Bielby, chief executive of the Federation of Wholesale Distributors, added: "There is concern that councils are looking to make extra money by issuing PCNs [during the Olympics]."

Chapman commended a scheme currently being trialled by Westminster in Leicester Square, which has seen traffic marshals introduced.

The marshals are on hand during a newly installed 6am to 10am delivery window, with a remit of moving on incorrectly parked vehicles and educating drivers, rather than issuing immediate fines.

The scheme is likely to used by the council during the Olympics.

"There needs to be recognition of the difference between [spectators’] cars parking on the day and delivery vehicles [doing their job]," said Chapman.

West said marshalls would likely only be introduced by the capital's councils if Olympic organisers meet the cost.

In March, delegates at MT's Summer Freight Planning conference were told the the Olympics represent a significant opportunity for operators to overcome opposition to routine night-time deliveries.