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London Driving: Tougher than Ever?

Desiree Michels

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All HGV drivers have a handful of horror stories about trying to navigate London, but it seems that these stories are becoming increasingly more common and extreme. In fact, I recently found a survey from the Freight Transport Association (FTA) which showed that a staggering 96% of transport operators claimed that delivery in the capital is harder now than it was 5 years ago.

The Key Issues with London Delivery

Unsurprisingly, when the operators were asked to name the biggest problem, the majority responded with the dreaded “congestion” word. An excessive number of compliance schemes also scored highly, whilst vulnerable road users, penalty charges and restricted delivery times were also noted by many. These are just a few of the challenges that the hard-working HGV drivers face each and every time they are making a delivery in London.

With such an overwhelming response, the question of how to change the situation needs to be addressed as soon as possible. Not only can this improve the working life of lorry drivers, but it could also have a positive impact on other road users, the general public and the environment.

Improvements That Can be Made

In the run-up to a crucial Road Transport Media (RTM) ‘Freight in the City’ expo, the FTA’s Head of Policy for London, Natalie Chapman, has been talking about improvements that can be made.

“FTA believes there are many improvements that can be made without compromising the efficiency of transport operations, such as reforming night-time delivery restrictions, avoiding lorry bans and increasing enforcement of existing HGV legislation. ”

Chapman also stated that HGVs remain the most effective way to get goods into and out of the city, so any changes must ensure that this is done cost-effectively, safely and with consideration for the environment.

A Crucial ‘Freight in the City’ Expo

The ‘Freight in the City’ Expo will hopefully spark ideas and debate on how delivering in London can be made easier and cleaner. Natalie Chapman will be just one of the speakers at the event, which is being held on 2 November at Alexandra Palace. The event is free to attend and will consist of a number of seminars, lectures and exhibitions of new technology, equipment and vehicles which can improve urban deliveries.

All transport operators are aware of the struggles of delivering in the capital, but the response to the FTA survey suggests that the situation has worsened. I hope that the survey results and The ‘Freight in the City’ Expo will lead to some positive changes in the near future, making the horror stories of London delivery drivers a thing of the past.

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Norman Dulwich is a Correspondent for Haulage Exchange, the leading online trade network for the road transport industry. Haulage Exchange provides services for matching HGV drivers with available haulage jobs. Over 4,000 transport exchange businesses are networked together through their website, trading jobs and capacity in a safe ‘wholesale’ environment.


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