The London Freight Plan

The London Freight Plan


Stephen Steele, Paul Dumble, Transport for London, UK


Freight transport has environmental and societal impacts. Transport for London has set up a dedicated Freight Unit to develop and deliver the London Freight Plan which aims to address these issues.



London is changing, its population growing and employment opportunities increasing. London is the powerhouse of the UK economy, with a GDP of over £130 bn. It is also the only growing capital city in Europe. The Mayor?s London Plan foresees a significant increase in population and employment within the Greater London Authority area by 2016. Over this period, demand for goods and services is also expected to rise by 10%. Freight and servicing is also a major employer in London. More than 6,400 freight companies are based in London, operating nearly 28,000 vehicles over 3.5 tonnes. In addition, London has more than 600 courier firms. Freight volumes and trip numbers will increase as a result and vehicle use and trip patterns will change arising from supply chain evolution. The reliable and efficient movement of freight is essential to sustaining London?s growth ? without it the city would grind to a halt.

But while undeniably playing a major role in economic development, freight transport has environmental and societal impacts which the London Freight Plan sets out to address. Congestion, emissions, collisions involving personal injuries, noise, visual intrusion being some of the more significant detrimental freight impacts.


Transport for London has set up a dedicated Freight Unit to develop and deliver the London Freight Plan. The Plan focuses on facilitating London?s growth with reliable and sustainable freight operations enabled by correctly prioritised schemes to improve regulations and planning and promote the uptake of best practice. These initiatives will be developed by working closely with boroughs, businesses and operators to capture and analyse key data, enabling the right balance to be struck between economic and social/environmental impact.

The plan contains

Freight Proposal 1 - Support the development of sub-regional Freight Quality Partnerships and improved means of communication. Including a co-ordinated approach to web information, regular best practice forum, a freight guide for borough councils, a freight operators handbook and newsletters.

Freight Proposal 2 - Produce an annual Freight Data Report, identifying trends and assessing the impact of schemes and initiatives on key indicators.

Freight Proposal 3 - Develop and roll-out a programme of freight training in London for borough employees and Members, drivers and logistics planners

Freight Proposal 4 - Develop and roll out a Freight Operator Recognition scheme in London, with operator and vehicle registration and three levels of recognition for best practice adoption. This addresses fuel efficiency and occupational road risk and is linked to a dedicated Metropolitan Police freight education unit and training standards and programmes developed in Proposal 3. Level 1 recognition is linked to delivery best practice identified in Proposal 5.

Freight Proposal 5 - Improve Reliability of London Deliveries: regulations, design and best practice. This includes the development legal loading plans for all premises as part of the planning process, a freight journey planner with an integrated delivery restrictions information system. Operators will be encouraged to contest inappropriately issued penalty charge notices or use driver recall systems to reduce fines and to then report locations where charges can not be avoided to the sub-regional FQPs in Proposal 1. A central registration point for deliveries in London will be implemented covering the Recognition scheme in Proposal 4, the congestion charging scheme in Proposal 6 and the LEZ and LLCS in Proposal 9.

Freight Proposal 6 - Improve Reliability of London Freight Movement: regulations, design and best practice. In addition to the freight journey planner mentioned in Proposal 5 which will be multi-drop and linked to real-time traffic information, the expansion of the central London congestion charging scheme and it?s subsequent development into road user charging is supported.

Freight Proposal 7 - Promote Supply chain reconfiguration - Promoting Modal Change where economically and environmentally practicable. This will include developing development briefs for the already identified rail terminal sites, providing information on alternative modes and develop cost models and case studies.

Freight Proposal 8 - Promote Supply chain reconfiguration - Promoting Consolidation where economically and environmentally practicable. Roll-out of the construction material consolidation centre concept, linked to planning requirements and the next revision of the London Plan; development of the wholesale market consolidation approach and the nominated carrier courier approach.

Freight Proposal 9 - Promote Supply Chain reconfiguration - Promoting changes to vehicle specification / fuel where economically and environmentally practicable. Including links to the London LEZ and the London Lorry Control Scheme.


Association for European Transport