Vision Techniques
CIWM Awards


The great road freight debate

The Great road freight debate

Posted on 11th Mar, 2016 by Jonathan Peach

Over the past few months, there have been a number of changes discussed concerning the presence of freight vehicles, such as HGVs and LGVs, on Britain’s roads. These changes, if put into place, will have a serious effect on the road freight industry and their operations within inner city areas.

Freight vehicles: The facts

  • Vehicles of this type clock up over 16 billion miles per year.
  • There are nearly 500,000 registered goods vehicles in the UK.
  • Every year in the UK, road freight vehicles move over 1.5 billion tonnes of goods.
  • The average trip length for HGVs has been increasing year-on-year. It increased by 17% from 1990 to 2010 and is now calculated at 93 km per trip.
  • One-third of deliveries to local stores or collection points face restrictions – such as preventing out-of-hours deliveries to take place. This forces freight into congested times.

The great road freight debate

Proposed change

The biggest of all changes is the proposed rush hour ban for HGVs, LGVs and some larger vans. Many industry authorities and professionals have used the recent Freight in the City Spring Summit to voice their opinions and concerns on how this could drastically impact the delivery costs. The arguments for, led by Liberal Democrat MPs, include a need for improved road safety – particularly for cyclists. Other reasons for the ban include the need to reduce freight traffic on the roads, and tackling the issues of congestion, air pollution and air quality.

There are as many arguments against the ban – for reasons including loss of productivity. About the proposal, consolidation centre operator Wilson James say that a rush-hour HGV ban in the capital would see construction hauliers lose four hours of productivity every day, with a huge chunk taken out of their working day. Instead, they see a solution in improving urban logistics and increasing consolidation centres.

vt blog london legislation

Of course, if this ban is put into place it’s not just the freight industry that will be affected. Construction industries could also be affected with site access to inner city sites limited if a ban is put into action. 

While there are arguments for and against the proposal to ban HGVs from Britain’s roads during rush hour, there are also suggestions that the proposed ban would simply not work in practice. Christopher Snelling, head of urban logistics and regional policy at the Freight Transport Association, says about the ban:

“It doesn’t make sense even from a safety point of view.

“To perform the work of even one medium-sized HGV, you’d need 10 vans to replace it. If you do that, the safety profile is different, but the safety profile of 10 vans isn’t going to be better than one HGV.”

The future of freight

vt blog inner city cycling-technology

What this means for the future of freight and other vehicle dependent industries is still unknown. For now, London’s Safer Lorry Scheme is the main initiative in place proving to make a real difference to safety on London’s roads. In the future, it looks like robot-driven lorries might have a role to play, which are thought to make the number of road death plummet, as well as increase efficiency. However, there are things you can do to improve the profile and safety of your vehicle right now.

At Vision Techniques, you’ll find a whole range of road safety technologies designed for your vehicle. Some of the products you might like to consider for your freight vehicle or HGV include:

For more information about any of our products, give us a call today on 08452 873 169.

What’s your opinion on the great freight debate? Tell us in the comments below or tweet us @VisionTechnique