No matter what part of the motor industry you operate within there is an emphasis on safety and continual enhancement of best practice policies. In recent years FORS and Transport for London (TFL) have played a big role in promoting and innovating new best practice methods, to date there are over 5000 accredited FORS members operating within their guidelines.
The latest initiative launched by TFL is a freight and servicing action plan; this plan addresses a number of concerning factors within the transport industry such as how to best meet the needs of London’s growing population and economy, as well as how operators can transition to become more sustainable by reducing congestion and improving the overall road safety. The overall aim is to transform how deliveries are made in the capital, while playing a part in reducing London’s toxic air levels.
Lorries and vans are vital for the economy and sustainability of life within London. Figures show that around half of household expenditure (£79 billion per year) relies on road freight of some description. The overall movements of goods vehicles with London has increased by around 20% since 2010, meaning that lorries and vans alone account for around one third of all nitrogen oxide emissions in London, providing clear evidence for the poor air quality and congestion we are experiencing now.
The need for increased safety is evidenced by TFL research which shows that lorries and vans currently account for around one fifth of road traffic in London and about one third in central London during the morning peak. The alarming figures show that heavy goods vehicles are involved in 63% of fatal collisions with cyclists and 25% of fatal collisions with pedestrians, despite only making up 4% of the overall miles driven in the capital.
Key actions in the plan include:
• Working with boroughs to better coordinate the control of freight movements on London’s roads, including supporting London Councils’ review of the London Lorry Control Scheme, which helps manage noise nuisance from the largest lorries during unsocial hours and allow more deliveries where appropriate to take place during off-peak hours
• Supporting increased use of water and rail by protecting and reactivating wharves and working with Network Rail to take advantage of opportunities to grow rail freight where possible
• Reducing harmful emissions caused by lorry and van movements by launching the central London Ultra Low Emission Zone next month, which will bring in stricter exhaust emission standards for most vehicles, including vans and lorries, and supporting boroughs in introducing local zero emission zones. TfL guidance will set out a clear process to boroughs for introducing zones to tackle pollution hot spots across the capital
• Making freight vehicles safer by launching the HGV Safety Permit Scheme, incorporating the world’s first Direct Vision Standard for HGVs, with the first permits under the scheme to be issued later this year. TfL will also work with regulators to bring in additional mandatory safety equipment for vehicles where appropriate, including new technology to prevent vehicles being driven under the influence of alcohol and autonomous braking systems to reduce the risk of collisions with pedestrians