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Boroughs halt work on scheme to cut lorry risk to cyclists

25 July 2014

London Councils has halted work on adding safety requirements to the London Lorry Control Scheme (LLCS) that were intended to cut the risk posed by goods vehicles to cyclists and pedestrians.

The LLCS controls the movement of lorries across London at night and weekends, restricting HGVs to an excluded road network unless they have been granted specific permission to use restricted roads. 

Borough association London Councils, which manages the scheme, announced plans last year to add safety features as concern grew about collisions between HGVs and cyclists. 

Work on the proposals has now been halted because Transport for London and London Councils are progressing separate plans for a London Safer Lorry Scheme.

Further details of this scheme emerged this week. It will prohibit goods vehicles over 3.5 tonnes from operating in the capital without Class V and VI extended view mirrors and side guards for all relevant vehicle types. TfL is investigating what vehicle designs should be exempt – the mirrors will not, for instance, have to be fitted to vehicles with low height cabs because if they did they could strike pedestrians or cyclists. 

The Road Haulage Association is pressing for the weight limit to be revised. Director of policy, Jack Semple, told LTT: “We are still in discussion with TfL as to the value of a 3.5 tonne threshold, which we feel is too low, and as to how the exemption will work. 

“We can understand the concern in terms of older, large HGVs in London conditions but there are relatively few on the road these days and very few go into London because of the Low Emission Zone.”

London Councils transport officer Andrew Luck told councillors the Government was taking action that would remove many of the exemptions for side guards on new vehicles from October this year. All new vehicles have had to have extended view mirrors since 2007. 

He said the cost of retrofitting  was “relatively inexpensive” – £300 for a close proximity mirror and £500 for a side guard. 

TfL and London Councils propose making pan-London traffic orders to introduce the  scheme. London Councils has been seeking delegated authority from all 33 boroughs for the powers to make and enforce the scheme. “All 33 boroughs have to give their approval to give TEC the powers to make the new traffic order(s),” said Luck. 

He said 25 boroughs had so far granted the authority and the majority of others had given a firm commitment to do so. But  one borough has indicated that “although they support the principle of the scheme, they would not sign the proposed delegation”. Discussions are continuing.

TfL plans to conduct an informal consultation on the Safer Lorry Scheme this summer and a public inquiry is likely to take place later this year. It could come into force in mid-2015.  

Luck said the intention was for the scheme to be subject to civil enforcement and said there was a case for London Councils to enforce on borough roads, given it already enforces the LLCS. 

Civil enforcement will, however, require secondary legislation and it is likely that, initially, the scheme will be enforced through the criminal process using police and DVSA officers, funded by TfL. Fixed penalty notices of £50 will be issued for non-compliant vehicles.  

Signs will need to be erected to alert drivers to the new scheme. TfL and London Councils are talking to the DfT about the sign design. Luck said they were likely to be erected on entry roads into London with some repeater signs.

This will be discussed in detail at LTT's London Cycling Show on the 12 September.


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