Local ‘micro-distribution’ centres are to be built on Transport for London land in a bid to boost the number of sustainable last mile deliveries made across the capital.
Delivery company DPD recently opened an all-electric depot, served by two 7.5t fully-electric lorries, on TfL land with the final deliveries carried out by a fleet of 10 electric vans and eight micro-vehicles.
A wider rollout of such sites, which is confirmed in a new freight strategy published by City Hall and TfL today, will make it easier for couriers and other firms to use electric vehicles, bikes and other environmentally friendly transport modes to complete deliveries.
Other measures contained in today’s strategy include offering more click and collect points at Tube stations and encouraging more businesses to provide ‘green’ delivery slots, where shoppers are offered delivery times in which drivers are already in their area.
The strategy aims to cut the number of lorries and vans entering central London during the morning peak by 10% by 2026 in order to boost road safety and help clean up London’s air quality.
According to TfL research, heavy goods vehicles are involved in more than 60% of fatal collisions with cyclists and 25% of fatal collisions with pedestrians, despite only accounting for four per cent of the overall miles driven in the capital. Lorries and vans also account for a third of all nitrogen oxide emissions in the capital.
To help achieve the reduction, Londoners will be encouraged to choose more sustainable delivery options for their online purchases which have doubled since 2012 and are set to rise further in the coming years as shopping habits change.
Other measures in the plan include working with boroughs to coordinate the control of freight movements on London’s roads and supporting increased use of water and rail to move freight.
Mayor Sadiq Khan said: “Freight is essential for London’s economy but for our future health and prosperity we need to be smarter about how we manage the millions of van and lorry journeys each week.
“By creating a pan-London network of micro-distribution centres and rolling out innovative click and collect points at more Tube stations, we will enable more commuters to collect packages near their home – helping reduce congestion across our city.
“Together with the introduction of our world-leading Direct Vision Standard and supporting businesses to switch to electric vans and cargo bikes, we will make freight more efficient while also reducing road danger and cleaning up London’s toxic air.”
Alex Williams, TfL’s Director of City Planning, said: “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 vulnerable road users.
“Whether through using click and collect points for online shopping, or shifting vehicle fleets to greener alternatives, we all have a part to play in making London a healthy and attractive place to live and work.
“We will continue to work closely with our partners and people across the capital to make our vision for cleaner and safer freight a reality.”
Cllr Julian Bell, London Councils’ Executive Member for Transport & Environment, said: “As London’s population and economy grows, so does the need for efficient transportation of goods and services.
“We welcome the Freight and Servicing Plan, which sets out a much-needed collaborative approach for the better planning and management of freight and servicing for the capital.
“Boroughs look forward to working closely with TfL on this, particularly on addressing the safety and environmental impact of heavy goods vehicles through initiatives such as the proposed Direct Vision Standard and encouraging last mile deliveries by cycle freight.”
Natalie Chapman, Head of South of England and Urban Policy at the Freight Transport Association, called for “strong leadership” at borough level to ensure a consistent approach when implementing the plan’s recommendations,
She warned: “Without this, London’s 33 boroughs may end up introducing schemes in slightly different ways, which would make the regulatory environment even more complex than it currently is for the logistics industry, a sector which underpins the capital’s entire economy.”
Caroline Pidgeon, chair of the Chair of the London Assembly Transport Committee, welcomed the fact that today’s plan “contains a number of recommendations from the Transport Committee’s Freight in London report.”
She added: “Freight is vital to London’s economy, but contributes towards congestion, poor air quality and carbon emissions, and impacts safety on London’s roads.
“The Committee recommended an increase in click and collect facilities at stations across its network, so it is good to see this is included as well as a commitment to promote this to customers.
“TfL has made a commitment to seek to transport materials, for TfL-funded projects, by modes that provide a safe, clean and efficient way of moving freight around the capital. We recommended that TfL fully assesses the potential for using the river, rail or canals to move materials for its projects.
“We now want to see TfL showing leadership in working with the freight sector and other stakeholders to deliver this action plan. In our letter to the Mayor we recommended TfL reinstate a dedicated freight team to achieve this.”