Heavy goods vehicles could be banned from delivering grocery goods to town centre stores under pilot schemes being discussed by local authorities.
The proposed schemes aim to force HGVs to deliver their goods to secure collection points or consolidation centres on the outskirts of town instead.
Smaller vans will then pick up the goods and deliver them to retail outlets in the town centre.
Ian Evans, team leader for strategic and environmental transport policy at West Sussex County Council, which has put the idea of a pilot scheme out to consultation as part of its 10-year Transport Plan, said: “We are looking into the possibilities and feasibility of a pilot scheme and investigating whether there is a suitable place in the county for a transhipment depot.”
The Transport Plan, which is due to come into operation in April next year, states that a pilot project for HGV collection points would take place somewhere in West Sussex within its lifespan.
The council has also said it will work with major retailers and haulage operators to improve the co-ordination of deliveries in town centres.
Evans added that a similar proposal for van deliveries was under way in Hampshire and the council was working with Southampton University. Another
scheme is being run in Bristol, where goods are delivered to a transhipment depot. One lorry is then sent out with deliveries to city centre businesses. A spokeswoman for the Department for Transport said it had been encouraging local authorities to think of innovative ways to improve congestion in urban areas. “Consolidation centres would fall into this area.”
However, Geoff Dossetter, external affairs director for the Freight Transport Association, said any pilot scheme would need careful consideration. “The idea is fraught with extra costs, delivery problems and delays,” he said. “The costs of loading, unloading and transporting goods will rack up prices and decrease efficiency of deliveries.”
Stephen Hunter, MD for logistics at Nisa Today’s, also dismissed the scheme. “It would in fact increase congestion by directly increasing the number of smaller delivery vehicles needed to cope with moving large quantities of stock.”
Beth Brooks