London Councils is suspending enforcement of the London Lorry Control Scheme with immediate effect to help the freight and logistics industry cope with increasing pressures and demands from the rapidly developing situation with coronavirus.
The move aims to help keep London’s shop shelves filled with essential supplies such as food, toilet rolls and hand sanitiser.
The decision was made in response to freight industry concerns and government calls on local authorities to lift night-time restrictions on deliveries.
Cllr Peter John, chair of London Councils, said: “Protecting and supporting Londoners, including our most vulnerable residents, is the boroughs’ top priority as London rises to the unprecedented challenge of coronavirus. Suspending enforcement of the London Lorry Control Scheme will give hauliers peace of mind as they work under incredible pressure to supply London’s shops and other businesses with vital goods our residents need.”
The London Lorry Control Scheme helps to control the routes the largest lorries use overnight and at weekends to minimise noise disturbance for Londoners.
The environmental protection scheme that covers the whole of London and operates between 9pm and 7am during the week and from 1pm Saturday to 7am Monday over the weekend. It is not a ban and does not prevent any journeys, but vehicles over 18 tonnes do need to have a permit to use restricted roads during operating hours.
Once a vehicle has a permit, the driver can make a delivery or collection anywhere in London at any time, as long as they follow a compliant route in accordance with the rules of the scheme.
David Wells, chief executive of the Freight Transport Association, said: “FTA and its members strongly welcome the London Councils’ decision to suspended temporarily the London Lorry Control Scheme. This is a vital step forward in the industry’s response to the challenges posed by COVID-19.
“By extending the hours in which deliveries can be made, it strengthens the resilience of the supply chain and helps businesses to keep supermarkets stocked with the essential items consumers need to remain healthy and safe during this unprecedented time, including food, hygiene products and other basic items.”
Road Haulage Association chief executive Richard Burnett said: “The RHA welcomes the initial suspension of the scheme. The suspension will provide operators with greater flexibility to ensure the supply chain is resilient enough to deliver the food, medicines and other goods London needs. It will be important for operators who undertake night time deliveries that they ensure that operations are as quiet as possible."
London Councils said it will work with the freight industry to ensure quiet delivery good practice is observed, so that any temporary changes in delivery routes and times lead to as little disruption to residents as possible.
Although the enforcement suspension will initially be in place until 30 April, London Councils will keep this under review and will consider extending the suspension if necessary.
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