The Mayor of London and Transport for London (TfL) must reduce the impact of freight traffic in the capital, the London Assembly Transport Committee has said.
In a letter sent to the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, the committee has warned that while freight is vital to London’s economy the volume of traffic it produces is worsening congestion, air pollution and safety on the city’s streets.
The Transport Committee has urged the mayor and TfL to show leadership in making freight traffic in London more safe, clean and efficient.
The committee’s letter to Khan comes as TfL are set to release their Freight and Servicing Action Plan for dealing with freight in the capital.
Caroline Pidgeon MBE AM, chair of the Transport Committee, said: ‘The efficient movement of freight around London is an important part of London’s economy. However, there is a fine balance between economics benefit and environmental impacts.
‘Many deliveries, particularly last mile, contribute to congestion on the capital’s roads. It’s important that other modes of transport to move freight across the capital are used far more such as the river or rail.
‘The Committee has made a number of recommendations for TfL to consider for their forthcoming Freight and Servicing Action Plan.’
The Transport Committee has urged Khan to take a more holistic view on freight that ties into his Vision Zero and Healthy Streets initiatives to boost road safety and active travel.
Currently, TfL does not have a dedicated team on freight with the responsibility for the sector falling to TfL’s Director of City Planning.
By reinstating a dedicated team and working more closely with London’s borough councils, the committee says that TfL can develop a more consistent approach to handling London’s freight demand.
‘We recommend that TfL works closely with London Councils in its review of the London Lorry Control Scheme in order to achieve a system that gives greater flexibility to transport freight outside of peak hours, while continuing to protect Londoners from road danger, noise and other disturbance,’ the letter recommends.
The committee has advised engaging constructively with the freight industry to identify possible logistics space in central London, such as under-used car parking space, to permit use of smaller, cleaner vehicles in the last miles of journeys.
TfL should also conduct further research on the growth of light goods vehicles (LGVs) in London and expand its network of Click and Collect points at stations to reduce the need for repeat deliveries, Pidgeon wrote.
Finally, the committee recommended using the river, rail or canals to move building materials for major TfL building projects, as has been successful in the case of the Thames Tideway Tunnel.
The Mayor is set to respond to the points raised by the London Assembly Transport Committee early next month.