Will out-of-hours deliveries prevent Olympic road chaos?
As the Olympic and Paralympic Games approach, London’s Councils and Transport for London (TfL) have issued a Code of Practice for night-time deliveries along the Olympic Route Network (ORN) where the capital’s roads will be subject to daytime restrictions during the events.
Drawn up in co-operation with the Freight Transport Association (FTA) and the Noise Abatement Society (NAS), the advice shows sympathy towards out-of-hours pallet deliveries during the Games. However, London boroughs reserve the right to take action against businesses that are inconsiderate, especially if complaints are received from the local community about excessive noise. The parties involved in drawing up the Code of Practice have indicated that, if successful, it may result in a legacy of more acceptance of out-of-hours deliveries, leading to improved road safety, better air quality and reduced congestion in London.
The guidelines advise delivery drivers not to whistle or shout in order to get the attention of retail outlets receiving goods, to switch off reversing alarms and to shut doors quietly. The code also includes avoiding the use of external doorbells at delivery points and recommends the use of rubber buffering material between hard surfaces and delivery equipment – such as pallet trucks – to minimise noise.
When the ORN comes into force, there will be access and delivery time restrictions along the route, its surrounding areas and around the 13 Olympic venues in London. During this time, existing loading bays will be closed, so more deliveries will have to take place between midnight and 6.00am. Some freight industry pundits are predicting chaos during the summer’s festivities. There is certainly a large distribution operation to organise, with some 280,000 freight journeys taking place within London on a typical weekday.
In fact, deliveries, collections and servicing activity accounts for 17 per cent of Greater London's road traffic, a figure that is predicted to rise to 25 per cent by 2030.
Commented London's Transport Commissioner, Peter Hendy, “The challenges surrounding deliveries during the Games are considerable. However, the success of the quieter out-of-hours delivery trials we’ve commissioned in recent months clearly demonstrate that out-of-hours deliveries can, and I believe will, play a vital role in ensuring London and the rest of the UK keeps on moving this summer. I urge businesses that make or receive deliveries in London to use the Code of Practice for all out-of-hours deliveries.” He continued, “It is up to the freight and business community to prove to London's borough councils that they are aware of, and care about, the impact they have on the communities they deliver to. If the industry gets it right this summer, this is also a real opportunity for reducing congestion and improving air quality and road safety in London in the future.”
The Code of Practice has been welcomed by the capital’s business community. Said Sue Terpilowski, London Policy Chair for the Federation of Small Businesses, “Small businesses across London will support this announcement on night-time deliveries. This is a victory for common sense, when the roads will be heavily congested, to enable deliveries to be made at night time. We will work closely with our members to ensure they are aware of the Code of Practice to ensure that residents are not disturbed during the Games. It is vital that London remains open for business during the Games and so mitigating the risks of imposed transport obstacles are very much welcome.”