Logistics UK has condemned the 24% hike in penalty charges on London’s red routes - which comes into force today (17 January) - as a tax on hauliers.

Transport for London (TfL) is increasing the fine from £130 to £160. The penalty charge will be reduced by 50% if paid within 14 days and increased by 50% if paid after 28 days.

Natalie Chapman, Logistics UK policy chief for the South, said: “Logistics businesses need road and kerbside access to deliver the essential items businesses and consumers in the capital need.

“TfL has failed to identify in its research whether some businesses are receiving repeat fines due to the lack of safe and legal spots to load and unload deliveries that their livelihoods depend on.

“Without road design in place that supports logistics, this charge level increase will not provide the deterrent TfL intends, it will simply penalise some essential delivery and servicing activities."

She warned that the cost of transporting into London is becoming prohibitive, noting that the Congestion Charge is not returning back to its lower pre-pandemic level.

She added: “Now is not the time to add yet another cost without a clear strategy, particularly while London and the rest of the UK recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic.”

The hike comes as TfL research reveals that there has been a 26% increase in the number of penalty charge notices (PCNs) issued for parking, loading, bus lane and moving traffic offences between 2016 and 2019.

London's red routes, which are managed by TfL, make up 5% of roads but carry 30% of the capital's traffic.

They are designed to help traffic flow more efficiently along some of the busiest roads in London. Stopping is generally prohibited on red routes, outside of designated locations and times.

In its defence of the rise, TfL said that the cost of a PCN for contraventions on the red route network has not increased for more than ten years. The last increase was in April 2011 when it rose from £120 to £130. It added that the increase to £160 is in line with inflation since the last increase.

The increase also brings the charges in line with the penalties for non-payment of the Congestion Charge and the Ultra-Low Emission Zone, which are also currently set at £160.

Revenue raised through these penalty notices is invested back into London's transport network, which includes investing in its road network to improve road user safety.

Siwan Hayward, TfL's director of compliance, policing, operations and security, said: “We are committed to keeping London moving safely and efficiently, and compliance on the Transport for London road network is essential in achieving those aims.

“Non-compliance impacts London's air quality, creates safety risks, disrupts traffic and creates congestion for everyone.

Increasing the penalty charge for contraventions on our road network in line with inflation will provide a more effective deterrent to drivers and improve the safety and reliability of the network.”