Friday, March 20, 2015

New Rules for HGVs on London’s Roads as Freight Interests and Road Haulage Operators Asked for Views

Regulations for Lorry Designs are Changing to Increase Safety of Other Road Users
Shipping News Feature

UK – 1 September 2015 is a date which should concern any and all road haulage operators which have HGVs entering London’s Low Emission Zone (LEZ) as that signals the imposition of the London Safer Lorry Scheme, as well as numerous restrictions, rules and regulations which freight transport companies must adhere to henceforth.

Under the scheme, vehicles over 3.5 tonnes that are currently exempt will be required to be fitted with both Class V and Class VI mirrors giving the driver a better view of cyclists and pedestrians around their vehicles, and side guards to protect cyclists from being dragged under the wheels in the event of a collision. Any vehicles currently not fitted with these must be retrofitted prior to the introduction of the scheme.

Although the starting penalty for transgressing the new rules may seem somewhat petty at £50, there are potential ongoing fines of up to £1,000 and every offence must be reported to the Traffic Commissioners by the Operator Licence holder, which can result in the expense of an audit or a call to a Public Enquiry.

Pre-empting the introduction of the new regulations the Freight Transport Association (FTA) is holding a one day conference, ‘Managing Freight in London’ to explain the details to members which the FTA says will focus on the changes and challenges facing logistics operators in the coming months and years, providing the latest information and potential solutions. Natalie Chapman, FTA’s Policy Manager, London and South East said:

“London is both one of the most economically significant cities in the world and the largest in Western Europe. Unsurprisingly supplying it with all the goods it requires to function every day is a colossal task. The need to share reducing road space with increasing amounts of car movements, combined with the need to further minimise conflict with vulnerable road users and emissions mean that this task is only becoming harder. Operators tell us that they need help negotiating the complex requirements that London presents, and to understand what action they should be taking. This conference aims to help them achieve this.”

Chaired by David Wells, FTA’s Chief Executive from 1 May, and sponsored by Volvo Trucks and Brigade Electronics, the Managing Freight in London Conference takes place on Tuesday 2 June at The Kia Oval, home of Surrey County Cricket Club and delegates will hear from Transport for London (TfL), the Metropolitan Police’s Commercial Vehicle Unit, Bikeability, Westminster Council, major logistics companies and customers, along with industry and FTA policy experts.

The problem of poor visibility is likely to become a thing of the past as manufacturers move toward multiple cameras and cabs with extensive glass panels where before were steel doors, mirrors are getting larger and more effective, and a recent trial in which numerous drivers were asked to try the new designs resulted in overwhelming approval.

Meanwhile the Traffic Commissioner for London, by Nick Denton has endorsed a new survey commissioned by Transport for London asking HGV drivers and other road users and the views of haulage operators on ways to improve safety on London’s streets.

All responses are anonymous. No personal data will be collected and respondents will not be identified. The project team at TRL operate under the Market Research Society Code of Conduct. The survey should take 20-25mins to complete and to take part click here.