The RHA has called on the next London Mayor to appoint a freight commissioner and a freight council to ensure greater support for the haulage and coach sectors.

The call is made in RHA’s recently published report, Supplying London - The Road Freight and Coach Industry Manifesto for London.

The manifesto demands a major reset in the industry’s relationship with London, pointing to a joint industry survey which showed that 95% of operators said their drivers did not enjoy driving in London.

The manifesto states: “It is only natural that drivers would not wish to subject themselves to an environment where they do not feel valued when they are simply doing their jobs.

“Perceptions need to change, with road freight and those who work within it recognised for the vital role they play. Logistics is an essential economic enabler, yet the way operations have evolved to provide Londoners with the exceptional and cost-effective levels of service they expect is not reflected in policies and attitudes. Increasingly, haulier needs are overlooked or ignored from the policy making process.”

The manifesto points to major challenges to hauliers operating in London, including the London Lorry Control Scheme which it said increases traffic volumes and pollution during the working day, but does not take into account the evolution of lorries that are now significantly quieter; the Direct Vision Standard which it accused of creating confusion on how HGV operators can comply; and the ULEZ expansion, which it condemns for impacting those least able to adapt, by driving up the prices of the limited supply of compliant vehicles.

The manifesto sets out the RHA’s key requests ahead of the 2 May London mayoral election. These include a freight commissioner to coordinate logistics-related policy across devolved government and liaise between various bodies including Transport for London, London Councils and Freight Quality Partnerships to ensure the freight industry’s needs are considered and embedded in the policy making process and in the London Plan.

Another key request is the establishment of a London freight council to bring together industry representatives and government officials from across Greater London to ensure better understanding and improved focus on delivering for Londoners.

The RHA also calls for better access for lorries within the capital. It states: ”We seek a commitment from the Mayor of London and TfL to identify and maintain key freight routes in the capital which could reduce congestion and improve air quality.

“The Mayor should also consider traffic prioritisation on these routes including allowing bus lanes to be used by HGVs to reduce congestion. Major infrastructure projects and new developments must ensure adequate loading bays and kerbside access are provided to HGVs to ensure efficient deliveries.

The Manifesto also requests action on the skills gap. It states: ”The next Mayor should ensure the industry has access to the local skills it needs via the London Local Skills Improvement Plan (LSIP), the devolved Adult Education Budget, and Skills Bootcamps.

“The Adult Education Budget must meet the requirements of the freight and coach industries so that learners can secure employment in our sector.”

Richard Smith, RHA MD, said: “We are committed to working with the next Mayor of London to ensure more efficient freight and coach journeys.

“Our members based in the capital stand ready to work with the next Mayor to take forward the priorities within this manifesto and ensure London’s commercial vehicle sector has the support it needs.”