22 May 2020
London Councils suspended enforcement of the London Lorry Control Scheme (LLCS) on 17 March 2020 to help the freight and logistics industry cope with increasing pressures caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
In place since 1985, the LLCS controls the movement of heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) over 18 tonnes maximum gross weight. It operates at night and at weekends on specific roads in the capital, helping to minimise noise pollution.
Having recently seen emission zone charges reintroduced however (see London Congestion Charge and LEZ reinstated), hauliers have now been told that the LLCS will be restored with effect from 1 June 2020.
Natalie Chapman, Head of Urban Policy at the Freight Transport Association (FTA) described the move as hugely disappointing and a retrograde step.
It will, she went on, hit the logistics sector particularly hard at a time when it is attempting to rebuild after the shutdown of COVID-19, particularly as the pressures involved in maintaining supplies to London’s essential shops and services have not gone away.
“With a downturn in the usage of public transport due to social distancing, and more foot, car and cycle traffic on the roads as a result, the continued suspension of the LLCS would have enabled logistics operators to deliver outside peak working hours and help spread demand on London’s limited road infrastructure,” Ms Chapman pointed out.
Her comments were echoed by Road Haulage Association (RHA) Chief Executive Richard Burnett who said: “I find their decision to reintroduce enforcement controls at this extremely sensitive time to be beyond belief.”
Reintroducing the Control Scheme with less than a week’s notice amounts to little more than kicking an industry when it is down, he concluded.
Timetable for restoring the Scheme
From 21 May 2020: enforcement officers will return to the streets “to make HGV observations” but no enforcement will be undertaken as they gather data to measure the current freight activity.
From 1 June 2020: activities will be logged onto the LLCS case management system although any possible breaches of the Scheme will only result in the issuance of a Warning Notice.
From 15 June 2020: after a two-week warning period, the LLCS will revert to regular enforcement of the Scheme under existing terms and conditions. However, LLCS officers will be available to discuss any specific issues operators have as a result of COVID-19 and arrange special routing requirements if necessary.