One of the UK’s largest business groups, the FTA, is asking for clarity from the government on the use of road space for logistics movements. Guidelines were published for post-COVID-19 travel, but they did not contain recommendations for the sector. The Head of Urban Policy for the FTA, Natalie Chapman, claims the published plans overlook the significant role logistics plays for the local cities and towns. She says the guidelines do not provide the scope needed to ensure logistic operators can supply their customers safely and effectively. Here’s a closer look.
The published guidance directs councils to reallocate road space for “significantly-increased numbers of cyclists and pedestrians, but overlooks access for those who keep our cities supplied with everything they need- logistics vehicles,” Chapman said. She reasons that the government does, indeed, seek to encourage active travel and social distancing. Still, many areas affect the safe movement of goods and services that have been left out of the plan. This is why the FTA has written to Transport Minister Baroness Vere to request urgent clarification.
Asking for Reassurance
The FTA urges authorities to reassure that access is maintained at all times, especially as shops begin to reopen, and demand for goods increases. They also ask that any temporary reallocation of road space for walking and cycling be changed to reflect changes in demand and to ensure access for certain logistics services. Any road closures or diversions must consider the increased travel times involved and possible displaced traffic.
Need for Fair Enforcement
It’s important that any enforcement against delivery vehicles is proportionate and focused on vehicles causing an obstruction to traffic. Chapman says the FTA is requesting a review of the restrictions on delivery hours so deliveries can take place at times when roads are less crowded.
We’ll keep an eye out on any clarifications that will inevitably come from the government.