Leading business organisations FTA (Freight Transport Association), the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Federation of Small Businesses are calling for the Mayor of London to appoint a dedicated Freight Commissioner to support the implementation of his transport strategy. Reacting to the publication of his Freight Action Plan, released today (7 March 2019), the group is calling for political leadership to ensure his freight policies, including Vision Zero and the ultra-low emission agenda, are implemented holistically and consistently across London’s 33 boroughs.
Speaking about it, Natalie Chapman, Head of South of England and Urban Policy at FTA, the business group representing the interests of the logistics sector, commented: “As a thriving city, London depends on reliable and efficient logistics to deliver the goods and services businesses need to operate. The logistics sector is more than willing to support the Mayor of London in his vision to make London’s roads cleaner and safer, but we need the political leadership and support to do so; there is an urgent need for a strong voice to champion freight transport and its particular interests and concerns across London.”
Chapman continued: “With many new initiatives in the pipeline, including the Ultra Low Emission Zone and Vision Zero, a dedicated Freight Commissioner is necessary to ensure these schemes are designed holistically and adopted consistently across the capital’s ever-changing landscape. Without this, London’s 33 boroughs may end up implementing 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. We also need to ensure more space is acquired for logistics operators, to support the uptake of cleaner vehicles such as electric vans which require areas for micro-consolidation and overnight charging, and to ultimately ensure logistics businesses can continue providing the high-quality and reliable service Londoners have come to expect.”
Sue Terpilowski OBE, London Policy Chair at the Federation of Small Businesses, commented: “With the population growth of London continuing to increase and the move towards online services and greater levels of construction, there is a clear and present need to develop a more holistic strategy for freight and deliveries for businesses taking place around the capital. We urge the Mayor to give Freight parity of esteem with other forms of transportation by giving an expert in the field of freight a Commissioner status.”
Sean McKee, Director of Policy and Public Affairs at the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) added: “Freight plays a vital, but not always appreciated, role in our everyday lives – from the stocking of our shelves to delivering raw materials to construction sites, to supporting industries such as housebuilding.
“As London heads towards ‘megacity’ status over 10 million citizens by 2030, the demands on the capital’s transport network, and of its residents and businesses for services and supplies, have never been greater. Because of this, LCCI argue that freight should be given greater prominence in London’s strategic plans going forward. Consequently, LCCI believes that a Freight Commissioner would help deliver a long-term holistic strategy for freight, that the capital needs in order to accommodate a sustained increase in demand.”
The TfL Freight Action Plan can be viewed on the TfL website https://tfl.gov.uk/