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Transport for London launch Cargo Bike Action Plan

Aiming to reduce the movement of vans around Central London by 17%, Transport for London (TfL) have launched an action plan promoting the use of cargo bikes for last mile deliveries and servicing around the capital. The Mayor’s Transport Strategy is that by 2041, 80% of journeys in London will be made by walking, cycling and public transport so this represents an ambitious step towards reaching that goal.

TfL and its collaborators have supported cargo bike schemes for some years, a programme in partnership with cargo bike operator Zedify to give access to Square Mile businesses was launched in 2018.

In 2021 The Borough of Hackney launched a cargo bike share scheme, funded by the Mayor’s Air Quality Fund, aimed at both commercial and non-commercial users and as part of the ULEZ scrappage scheme applicants can get discounts to switch to greener and cleaner forms of transport such a e-cargo or cargo bikes.

90% of all goods are transported around London by road and it is estimated that the carbon savings resulting from cargo bike growth across Greater London will be up to 30,000 tonnes of CO2 a year by 2030.  

The new plan highlights some key actions:

  • Developing a London safety standard for cargo bikes that adopts best practice, publishing guidance for both riders and operators   
  • Exploring opportunities to provide space, such as micro-hubs and parking to support last mile cargo bike operations  
  • Monitoring where key cargo bike routes are across the city to identify usage patterns and project future growth   
  • Using procurement policy to support further cargo bike uptake   
  • Ensuring adequate and suitable capacity for cargo bikes when designing future TfL cycling schemes  
  • Promoting cargo bikes when planning TfL, or supporting borough schemes – including Low Traffic Neighbourhoods and borough-led vehicle emissions-based schemes   
  • Providing businesses with the tools and information they need to feel able to make the switch to cargo bikes   

Beryl currently runs e-cargo bike hire schemes in Westminster and Hackney and their CEO and co-founder, Phil Ellis, said: ‘What we have learned from running e-cargo bike hire schemes in London is that they can be incredibly useful to many people, from businesses and tradesmen to families and individuals.

‘They’re really unique in terms of offering a sustainable, fast and efficient way to shuttle goods across urban environments; making them perfect for a wide range of tasks from carrying tools and delivering packages to getting your shopping done. 

‘They’re also cost effective, removing many of the expenses associated with private vehicle ownership such as fuel, storage, tax, MOT and maintenance.’

Rob King, co-founder and CEO of Zedify, said: ‘Our research shows that cargo bikes can save over 90 per cent CO2 emissions per km compared to electric vehicles. With ecommerce growing, it’s clear they have a serious role to play in decarbonising UK transport.  Cargo bike logistics has hit a vital stage of growth but it’s still a young sector and we need to invest in the ecosystem with things like product development as well as finance and insurance options. This is why businesses like Zedify need to scale rapidly and deliver amazing co-benefits from better air quality, carbon reduction, and fair employment to safer, healthier cities that are better for everyone.’

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