Keeping London at the forefront of global business
working with and for the whole UK
Innovation in online deliveries can help tackle emissions, says London First, but freight Czar needs to take charge
29 July 2021
A new poll shows more than half of Londoners now receive one online delivery a week, more than a fifth (22%) get several deliveries a week, and nearly 1 in 10 (9%) get at least one a day
Report calls for a new City Hall Czar to tackle increase in freight, deliveries, and servicing traffic in a cohesive way, as the current approach is fragmented and inefficient
London First has set out the action to tackle increasing road traffic and harness the willingness of Londoners to change their behaviour to make the capital greener
The rising online delivery trend is leading to an increase in demand for freight, servicing, and deliveries (FSD) traffic. This uptick is contributing to poorer air quality, higher carbon emissions, and increased congestion, threatening the potential for a green recovery in the capital.
Polling of 1,000 Londoners by Survation, featured in London First’s new report For the Goods of the City, shows that people are prepared to accept slower delivery times if they reduce carbon emissions (59%), reduce congestion (57%), and reduce local air pollution (58%). Two thirds (66%) were happy to receive one consolidated delivery a day if it meant that they paid less in charges.
The survey also hints at Londoners’ appetite for using click and collect services more often to reduce the impact of delivery vehicles on traffic congestion (47% likely to, compared to 45% not likely to), local air pollution (55%, compared to 39% not likely to), or global warming (54%, compared to 40% not likely to). Londoners would be more likely to switch to click and collect rather than ‘at home’ delivery if the pick-up location is convenient (22%) or made deliveries cheaper (21%).
Research by Delivering London (DL) featured in the report shows the size of the environmental prize up for grabs. It suggests that a comprehensive network of click and collect options could save more than 75 million van kilometres every year and reduce parcel delivery CO2 emissions by 20% or 16,700 tonnes per year – more than the 12,300 tonnes saved by the ULEZ each year.
The report sets out a series of actions that would help to tackle the challenges of increasing road traffic, including:
The creation, by the Mayor, of a senior GLA position to provide city-wide leadership and strategy on issues relating to freight, servicing, and deliveries. This could be modelled on the Night Czar, the Chief Digital Officer, or the Walking and Cycling Commissioner.
A single, integrated, freight, servicing and delivery strategy, and work across boroughs to prevent boundary issues within London.
New Freight Czar to work with boroughs to identify appropriate sites for click and collect delivery and consolidation hubs.
New Freight Czar to work with the Chief Digital Officer to ensure that the new freight, servicing and delivery infrastructure is fully mapped, and gather the data to enable better policy-making decisions.
Explore collaboratively with central government how to develop a policy environment that facilitates safe but innovative approaches to new freight, servicing, and delivery technologies such as drones and delivery robots.
Adam Tyndall, Programme Director for Connectivity at London First, said:
“There is clearly an appetite among Londoners to do their bit to help reduce carbon emissions, but without coordinated action goods traffic is set to continue growing.
“City Hall must now create a Freight Czar to ensure that the city benefits from the technological shifts that are already underway. It is crucial that investment in infrastructure, like electric vehicle charging points, is matched with collaboration across the boroughs, to avoid fragmentation between different operators.
“To get the change London needs on a scale to make a difference, City Hall must empower someone with the leadership and drive needed to bring Londoners along with them and to accelerate behavioural change. The prize – better air quality and reduced carbon emissions, matched with convenience and reduced congestion – is too great to ignore.”
Commenting on the need for a Freight Czar, Geoff Symonds, Chief Operating Officer, Uber Boat by Thames Clippers, said:
“The River Thames has significant untapped potential for both passenger and fast freight services, and future technologies mean that the river will be an increasingly vital component of the freight mix as we move to net zero. However, both passenger and freight services now need the political support and focus in City Hall to help improve the capital’s infrastructure and make best use of the river for services.”
Tune in to series one and two of What Next for London? to hear views on London, our Covid-19 recovery and more