The London Assembly has backed the FTA’s call earlier this month to re-instate a dedicated freight chief at TfL.

In a set of proposals sent in a letter to TfL today (28 Feb) on tackling the challenges of delivering freight in London, the assembly’s transport committee recommends a dedicated freight team is created, led by a senior officer.

It said the team should work across TfL and with external stakeholders to deliver a “holistic freight strategy” for the capital in line with the mayor’s road safety and air quality strategies.

The letter, sent by transport committee chair Caroline Pidgeon to TfL ahead of its pending Freight and Servicing Action plan under development, calls on the mayor to show leadership in working with industry stakeholders to reduce the impact of freight traffic and improve the efficiency of the sector.

Pidgeon said: “A dedicated freight team should build strong relationships with the freight industry to help it navigate new regulations such as the Direct Vision Standard and the introduction of the ULEZ.

“Through initiatives such as the London Freight Enforcement Partnership, this team would help provide a vital link between boroughs, the freight industry and other relevant stakeholders to ensure freight in London is safe, clean and efficient.”

The letter also called on the mayor and TfL to work more closely with London Councils and the capital’s 33 boroughs to ensure a consistent approach to freight policy was applied.

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Retiming deliveries was one area that would drive efficiencies for operators, it said, and TfL is urged to help London Councils in its reform of the London Lorry Control Scheme to reflect the advances of modern truck technology and enable out-of-hours freight.

Available space for logistics warehouses and hubs in central London was also raised as a key concern, particularly when trying to encourage operators to move to cleaner vehicles for the last mile, which may have shorter range capability then traditional diesel vans and lorries.

Consolidation scheme best practice could also be readily shared by a dedicated freight team, the letter recommended, and TfL should work with the boroughs and Business Improvement Districts to identify opportunities.

Click and collect expansion, research into what was behind the rise of van usage in the capital and better utilisation of river and rail freight were also recommended as actions for TfL to incorporate into its freight strategy.

FTA pleased

Natalie Chapman, head of south of England and urban policy at FTA, said of the assembly's proposals: “FTA is pleased to see the London Assembly transport committee is endorsing our recommendations for freight policy in London, following my attendance at an evidence session on 5 February 2019.

"Most notably, the committee has taken on board our call for the mayor to provide more leadership on freight policy in the capital.

"A holistic and synchronised approach is needed to prevent London’s 33 boroughs implementing schemes in slightly different ways as this would make the regulatory environment even more complex than it currently is for the logistics industry which underpins the capital’s economy."

Lilli Matson, TfL’s director of transport strategy, said: “Freight and servicing are the lifeblood of London’s economy, keeping the city working and its businesses thriving. However, as London continues to grow, we all need to think about how we can keep freight moving whilst tackling toxic air and congestion and reducing danger to people walking and cycling.

"We welcome the London Assembly transport committee’s recommendations. These are issues we are considering carefully in developing our upcoming Freight and Servicing Action Plan.”