FTA, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) and the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) have called on the mayor of London to appoint a dedicated freight commissioner.

The call came in response to the launch of the mayor and TfL’s new freight strategy last week (7 March).

Natalie Chapman, head of South of England and urban policy at FTA, said: “The logistics sector is more than willing to support the mayor of London in his vision to make London’s roads cleaner and safer, but we need the political leadership and support to do so; there is an urgent need for a strong voice to champion freight transport and its particular interests and concerns across London.”

She added that with many new initiatives in the pipeline for London, such as next month’s Ultra Low Emission Zone rollout and the mayor’s Vision Zero safety strategy, it is necessary to ensure schemes are applied consistently across the capital.

“Without this, London’s 33 boroughs may end up implementing schemes in slightly different ways, which would make the regulatory environment even more complex than it currently is for the logistics industry, a sector which underpins the capital’s entire economy.

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“We also need to ensure more space is acquired for logistics operators, to support the uptake of cleaner vehicles such as electric vans which require areas for micro-consolidation and overnight charging, and to ultimately ensure logistics businesses can continue providing the high-quality and reliable service Londoners have come to expect.”

FSB London policy chairwoman Sue Terpilowski said with London’s growing population and a trend towards online goods and greater levels of constriction activity, there is a “clear and present need” to develop a more holistic strategy for freight and business deliveries.

“We urge the mayor to give freight parity of esteem with other forms of transportation by giving an expert in the field of freight a Commissioner status,” she added.

Sean McKee, director of policy and public affairs at LCCI, added: “As London heads towards ‘megacity’ status of over 10 million citizens by 2030, the demands on the capital’s transport network, and of its residents and businesses for services and supplies, have never been greater.

“Because of this, we argue that freight should be given greater prominence in London’s strategic plans. Consequently, LCCI believes that a freight commissioner would help deliver a long-term holistic strategy for freight that the capital needs in order to accommodate a sustained increase in demand.”

Meanwhile, the London Assembly also reacted to yesterday’s freight strategy launch, following its call last week for a dedicated freight chief at TfL.

Chairman of the London Assembly Transport Committee, Caroline Pidgeon, said she was pleased to see the freight strategy include a number of its recommendations, such as boosting click and collect facilities and encouraging modal shift for goods deliveries in the capital.

However, she added: “We now want to see TfL showing leadership in working with the freight sector and other stakeholders to deliver this action plan. In our letter to the mayor we recommended TfL reinstate a dedicated freight team to achieve this.”

TfL was approached for comment but had not responded as this article was published.