The new Draft London Plan is a positive step for the city’s logistics sector, but there are still issues which need to be addressed, advises the Freight Transport Association (FTA).
It says the recognition of an urgent need for more industrial land is heartening, but the growing city will also need additional trucks to service businesses and residents and freight parking facilities must be incorporated into the scheme.
The Draft London Plan was launched on December 1 by London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan and the consultation will remain open until March 2018. The document sets out a proposed strategy, to shape how London evolves and develops. Once adopted, all planning decisions should follow London Plan policies.
“The draft London Plan shows a good understanding of some of the challenges faced by companies transporting goods in and out of the capital. Rising land values and the pressure for housing has left industrial land in short supply. This means logistics hubs have been pushed further and further from the centre, leading to longer journey times and more vehicles on the roads.
“FTA is pleased to see the recognition of a need for more industrial land within London. However, we would like to see space earmarked for smaller logistics hubs close to the city centre, to service the growing use of electric vehicles,” said FTA’s head of policy for London, Natalie Chapman.
“One area which has not been addressed is the impact of congestion on road freight services and the growing need for truck drivers to take their legal breaks within the M25. We’d like the Mayor and his team to address the need for lorry parks in London to allow drivers to take their breaks in a secure and pleasant environment and without causing disruption to residents living along major routes,” she added.
FTA represents members from all modes of freight transport. Chapman says many will welcome the plan’s emphasis on the increased use of water and rail to service the city’s growing population. She also highlights the importance of supporting existing businesses as housing spreads:
“Sadly, some long-established businesses have been forced to close after new housing was built close by and residents complained about noise or other disruption. FTA accepts the need for new housing in London, but those homes also need infrastructure to support them. We’re delighted to see that the plan requires developers to consider the impact of existing industry on new housing developments and places the burden on house-builders to adopt noise reducing design and even in some cases pay for sound-proofing.”