The FTA has welcomed amendments to the design of the London Safer Lorries Scheme (SLS), revealed yesterday (29 July) by TfL, however it believes a one-size-fits-all regulation for commercial vehicles over 3.5 tonnes is not the best way to improve cyclist safety.

In a consultation document, TfL and London Councils are asking stakeholders to have their say on a revised SLS initiative, aimed at banning HGVs not fitted with specific safety equipment to be banned from the capital's roads.

The proposed ban would operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, covering the same area as the London Low Emission Zone. It would be policed by on-street enforcement to begin with, moving to CCTV cameras if approved by the DfT and London's boroughs.

Following a feasibility study published in January, the SLS would require every vehicle over 3.5 tonnes to be fitted with Class V and VI close-proximity mirrors, as well as sideguards to protect cyclists being dragged under the wheels.

However, Christopher Snelling, FTA head of urban logistics policy, said although "good progress" had been made since the concept was first announced - including the scrapping of a proposed £200 a day charge and the inclusion of a list of vehicles unsuitable for fitment of extra mirrors or sideguards - more concessions are needed to ensure new regulations are in line with new-build lorry requirements.

He added that there is also the possibility that the SLS requirements could disrupt freight traffic not highly represented in cyclist fatalities, such as container movements.

The FTA believes a more targeted approach, with higher levels of enforcement against non-compliant operators who break the law, would be more effective than a blanket ruling.

"We are always concerned about new regulatory instruments being created, their compliance and enforcement costs, and how politicians might decide to change or extend these powers in the future. Safety on the roads is a complex issue and politicians often reach for the simplistic solution," said Snelling.

“There is no one magic solution to safety on our roads. Unless everyone involved takes intelligent action, the problem will not improve as much as we all want.”

The SLS consultation closes on 22 September, and if approved, the new regulations could be in place early next year.

London Councils recently dropped its plans to enforce cyclist safety equipment regulations as part of its London Lorry Control Scheme to avoid causing confusion with the advent of the Safer Lorries Scheme.