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Safer Lorry Scheme met with optimism at consultation stage

05 August 2014 #Logistics #News #Policy #Top Stories #Trailer #Truck

The consultation into the deliverability of the proposed rules of the Safer Lorry Scheme has been met with optimism by the industry.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson, Transport for London and London Councils are seeking feedback on the bans they intend to impose in early 2015. These include fitting sideguards and extra mirrors to trucks in order better to protect vulnerable pedestrians.

The Safer Lorry Scheme will be in effect 24 hours a day every day and regulated in the same area as the London Low Emission Zone. It will be enforced by an on-street team, with the use of CCTV cameras being mooted for the future.

Councillor Julian Bell, Chair of London Councils’ Transport and Environment Committee (TEC), said, “Heavy goods vehicles play an essential role in London’s economy, so the challenge we face is ensuring hauliers’ needs are balanced with the protection of other drivers, cyclists and pedestrians.

“We encourage stakeholders from across London to contribute to this consultation, to ensure these safety measures are as effective as they can be in protecting all road users.

Johnson said, “Vehicles that would be affected by this scheme can easily be retrofitted to comply and doing so will save lives. Companies such as Sainsbury’s and O’Donovan are already leading the way when it comes to cyclist safety and I urge others to follow suit.”

TfL and London Councils estimate that the cost of retrofitting vehicles should cost no more than £800 per vehicle, but even then some exemptions will still apply. For example, any truck registered before 2000 will not have to fit extended mirrors and a number of construction vehicles won’t need to fit safeguards.

Jacqueline O’Donovan, Managing Director of O’Donovan Waste Disposal, said that while her fleet was exempt from the Safer London Scheme, the company has invested in safety equipment for its trucks anyway.

“Our drivers and vehicles regularly participate in Exchanging Places run by the Metropolitan Police and TfL, which enables cyclists to experience a HGV driver’s view of the road and get a better understanding of their challenges. Although a large number of our vehicles were exempt, we felt the investment assisted our drivers in making London a safer place for all. We are doing all we can, through equipment and training, to minimise risk to cyclists and other vulnerable road users.”

However, even though the Freight Transport Association (FTA) is happy with the progress made since the scheme was suggested last year, it still feels more could be done to protect cyclists and adopting a broad brush approach may not be effective.

Christopher Snelling, Head of Urban Logistics Policy at the FTA, said, “Good progress has been made since the concept was announced last September.  We have moved away from a £200 a day charging scheme and now some of the necessary exemptions have been incorporated in to the SLS proposals.

“We are always concerned about new regulatory instruments being created, their compliance and enforcement costs, and how politicians might decide to change or extend these powers in the future.  Safety on the roads is a complex issue and politicians often reach for the simplistic solution.”

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