Practical Steps for City and Region Authorities Promoting Sustainable Freight Distribution ? Lessons from the London Freight Plan

Practical Steps for City and Region Authorities Promoting Sustainable Freight Distribution ? Lessons from the London Freight Plan


S Steele, Transport for London, UK



Efficient freight movement is essential for the local and regional economy. The movement of goods and servicing does unfortunately often lead to social and environmental impacts including congestion, climate change gasses, emissions and collisions.
In London, little freight activity is run directly by local authorities. Much is contracted out to the private sector or completely commercially provided, so the scope for the regional and local authorities to positively influence freight activity is at first sight restricted without resorting to the introduction of more regulations.
The historical approach has been to introduce more regulations. This has been done in a piecemeal way by over 40 bodies in an attempt to reduce the social and environmental impacts of the privately run freight sector. However, these regulations can work against each other and may lead to increased inefficiency and cost to the end-user / customer.
Sustainable Freight Distribution; a plan for London, published in January 2008, has been developed in partnership to provide a collaborative way to meet the needs of all parties involved in freight in London. It has a good business case, demonstrating the merit of the regional authority investing in Sustainable Freight Distribution. Details will be provided. Increasing capacity within local authorities, businesses and freight operators to address this new collaborative approach is a key feature of the Plan. Details will be provided.
Legal compliance is at the heart of sustainability and the Plan helps operators achieve this through education, backed-up by targeted intelligence-led enforcement. The Freight Operator Recognition Scheme use legal compliance and the use of best practice to reduce collisions, fuel-use, CO2 and fines/charges. This uses on-line benchmarking, offering motivation to operators to improve their performance and a way to effectively target help to those who need it most. Details of the standard, the activity of the Commercial Vehicle Education Unit, the benchmarking system and data already collected will be provided.
The London Freight Plan identified how FORS adoption is promoted to increase the uptake of best practice above the level achieved nationally, enabling the freight industry to meet its contribution, in particular, to meeting CO2 and collision reduction targets. Details of its uptake and outcomes will be provided.
This has been done by aligning the FORS standard with existing schemes and activities to enable freight impacts to be more easily and fully considered, for example by linking to public sector procurement practices, by creating a link to land-use planning and demand management measures (details will be provided), and by developing rewards that deliver those things the freight industry wants most? in London that includes reduced costs, fines/charges and ability to make out of hours deliveries. Details of the benefits provided through FORS and the impact these have will be provided.
However, whilst enabling the target reduction in CO2 and collisions to be met, the uptake of these initiatives fails to contain increasing freight demand within current road capacity used by freight, particularly in the AM peak. Details of the demand management measures, their uptake and impact will be provided.
The London Freight Plan enables a significant improvement in efficiency and reduction in social and environmental impacts.
However, the Plan fails to contain the increase in freight demand which will lead to unacceptable levels of congestion impacting on the efficient movement of people. Having successfully tackled costs, collisions and CO2, London now needs to develop new ways to increase the uptake of freight demand management measures in order to tackle road space conflicts and congestion.


Association for European Transport