Last reviewed 15 September 2020

The decision to ban vehicles from London Bridge from 16 September will impede on efficient logistics in the capital and harm economic recovery, Logistics UK (formerly the Freight Transport Association (FTA)) has warned.

Its Head of Urban Policy, Natalie Chapman, said that Logistics UK had been supportive and accommodating of the government’s plan to reallocate road space to cyclists and pedestrians.

However, she went on, the closure of London Bridge to vehicles between 7am and 7pm (Monday to Friday) is a step too far.

With suitable river crossings for freight in the capital being few and far between, Ms Chapman said, London Bridge provides essential connectivity into London.

“By banning these vehicles,” she explained, “it forces commercial drivers to take significant detours, which, in addition to reducing productivity, will increase localised congestion and air pollution as traffic clusters to the remaining river crossings.”

With the Government continuing to encourage local authorities to introduce a myriad of closure schemes, logistics is being funnelled into smaller and smaller areas of London.

“Many logistics businesses are still struggling with cash flow issues and major disruption to operations,” Ms Chapman pointed out. “This additional burden — which will drive up costs for companies significantly — could be the final straw that breaks the camel’s back.”

Furthermore, implementing the closure at such short notice will cause businesses immediate, serious challenges with routing and scheduling.

Logistics UK has promised to campaign to ensure that the scheme is not made permanent. It is also pressing Transport for London (TfL) to go ahead with the proposed new crossing at Silvertown.