Sunday, November 24, 2013

Freight Transport Association Speaks Out on Cyclist Safety and Carbon Reduction in Road Haulage

Education not Proscription Seen as the Solution to Increasing Accident Levels
Shipping News Feature

UK – The Freight Transport Association (FTA) has followed up the statement it released last week regarding the safety of cyclists, in the wake of the latest police crackdown on un-roadworthy lorries and a particularly horrific toll of accidents in the past few days, with a more comprehensive appraisal of the organisation’s methods and intentions to make the road haulage and logistics sectors safer in this regard, whilst unequivocally declaring that a ban on trucks within urban areas to be unrealistic and explaining why the schemes operating in other countries such as France and Ireland, would not be viable in UK commercial centres such as London. Christopher Snelling, FTA’s Head of Urban Logistics Policy commented:

“One death is too many and we must all do more to improve safety, cyclists, public authorities, public transport and HGV drivers and operators included. But banning HGV’s is a simplistic response with massive economic and transport impacts and an un-quantified safety case. Any measures taken should be intelligent, targeted and evidence based if we are to improve safety whilst allowing our cities to function.

“FTA believes that the idea of banning HGV’s from a city like London in peak hours is naive and not commercially viable. It would mean massive economic implications for the shops, businesses and residents of the capital. It would also create new safety issues as one lorry is replaced by about eight, not to mention the increased congestion and air pollution that would result.

“It is too simplistic to cite Paris and Dublin as examples of where HGV bans work as in practice very few vehicles are denied access to the city centres that need to be there. The reality is that the city authorities recognise that goods deliveries are essential to the efficient functioning of the city and permit them round-the-clock access.

“Paris only restricts the largest trucks, above about 28 tonnes gross weight. Very few trucks of this size operate on London’s roads because there is already a long-standing ban on articulated vehicles in the central area. Paris also exempts a long list of vehicles, including all construction traffic, the vehicles that are most represented in recent cycling fatalities. The Dublin scheme is not a ban at all, as any vehicle of any size can move about and deliver or collect anything anywhere at any time, as long as they pay a €10 fee.”

The FTA also points to the deluge effect that a rush hour restriction would have as commercial vehicles would arrive at the end of a morning ban. There are also many activities that simply cannot be displaced until later in the morning, bread and fresh food deliveries, catering and hospitality supplies; medical and cleansing services etc. Recent events do however, reinforce the message that more needs to be done to improve the safety of cyclists and all vulnerable road users.

Many of Britain’s haulage companies are investing hundreds of thousands of pounds upgrading their HGV fleets and in driver training to improve their performance on the road. Throughout this autumn FTA is delivering cycling safety messages to the road haulage industry at its Transport Manager conferences across the UK whilst also being involved in launching new safety standards for construction traffic in London next month devised by an industry group with the support of Transport for London. Additionally the FTA is currently delivering cycling safety messages at thirteen Transport Manager Conferences across the UK and offering a free compliance check to any member who wishes to re-examine themselves against the requirements of the Metropolitan Police who are currently conducting a campaign to ensure vehicles on the roads of the capital comply with safety regulations.

In other news the FTA has announced the Logistics Carbon Reduction Scheme (LCRS) Awards for 2014, developed to celebrate green leaders in the freight industry. The awards will recognise the efforts of individual LCRS members to reduce their carbon emissions from freight activity. Rachael Dillon, FTA's Climate Change Policy Manager said:

“Due to the success of the inaugural LCRS Awards this year, we are delighted to be launching new Awards for 2014, providing an excellent opportunity for fleet operators to earn recognition for efforts that they are undertaking to improve fuel efficiency and reduce carbon emissions. Additionally, the Awards signal to customers, stakeholders, policymakers and the public that the freight industry is making significant efforts to contribute to solving the climate change challenge.”

Any company which is an LCRS member with a green freight initiative worthy of an award is invited to enter and LCRS members may enter one or more of the award categories with the presentations taking place at the FTA's annual Logistics Carbon Reduction Conference, to be held in May 2014.

For further information on the LCRS Awards including categories and sponsors or to sign up to the LCRS, which is free of charge and is open to any size company, click HERE.

Photo: The TfL advertisement which the London Cycling Campaign objected to recently saying the cyclists pictured were visible to a driver paying attention.