A raft of new traffic control measures and parking regulations have made some retail outlets in the capital almost impossible to supply legally, the Freight Transport Association has claimed.
In Tottenham Court Road, for example, vehicles are banned from unloading during the day and then fall foul of London’s night-time lorry ban, said FTA chief executive Richard Turner.
“The situation in London is desperate,” said Turner. “In a city that is open 24-hours, there are only two and a half hours (6.30pm to 9pm) when there is a delivery window unfettered by congestion charging or the London lorry ban. And even if you can deliver at night, lots of smaller stores are not equipped to take deliveries then anyway.”
Local delivery curfews, which
restricted night-time deliveries to many food retail outlets in town centres or residential areas, merely added to drivers’ woes, he added. “We are doing some research, along with the British Retail Consortium, to collect evidence on the impact of curfews on stores and depots. We must convince the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and the Department for Transport that new guidance is necessary.
“The irony is, that by stopping deliveries at night, local authorities have pushed heavy goods vehicles on to the road in the rush hour, adding to congestion and pollution.”
Proposals to raise the London congestion charge for goods vehicles to £7 compounded the misery for firms already grappling with driver shortages, high fuel costs, bus lanes, yellow lines and no unloading bays, he said. “Drivers have to deliver when stores need replenishing and staff are there to do the job, so they can’t just turn up later.”
Transport for London’s argument that goods vehicles benefit because there is less traffic on the road doesn’t provide much consolation, he added.“If lighter traffic means you shave two minutes off a journey time, that’s welcome, but it’s not enough time to make a second trip, or change the way you run your business.”
Parking fines were also out of control, he said,with wardens lying in wait for the legitimate driver to leave his lorry unattended momentarily.
Elaine Watson