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London hosts Quiet Cities freight summit

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New guidance for flexible delivery times has been published as part of the first Quiet Cities summit in London.

The summit aimed to bring key players in the freight industry together to take a long-term look at how to efficiently manage freight deliveries in the future.

With 90 per cent of London’s freight moving on the capital’s roads, the summit focused on how this challenge could, in part, be addressed by retiming road deliveries and services to the right time of day or night.

The summit included experts from across the industry and addressed the burning issues that face the changing nature of deliveries in urban areas. The new guidance shows local authorities, businesses and operators how collaborative small changes and gaining the right knowledge can make retimed deliveries a reality.

London is set to expand to over 10 million people by 2031, the equivalent of absorbing the population of both Birmingham and Leeds, and the challenge of how to safely and efficiently move increasing volumes of goods around the capital needs careful planning.

Out of hours deliveries proved successful during the London 2012 Games, when the freight industry pulled together to ensure the capital, faced with exceptional demand, continued to function. The rapid growth of the capital and the changing behaviour of Londoners mean more goods are ordered, increasingly online, to a wider variety of delivery addresses.

The London Re-Timing Deliveries Consortium, which comprises of TfL, London boroughs, retailers and members of the freight industry, has been working hard to demonstrate what can be achieved when different organisations work in partnership effectively. Their work has helped form the creation of the new toolkit “Getting the Timing Right”, which demonstrates how the timings of deliveries both in London and the UK could be made more flexible without adversely affecting business or local residents.

London's Transport Commissioner, Sir Peter Hendy CBE, said: “The importance of freight to the capital and beyond cannot be underestimated, but nor can the challenges facing it. 

“In 15 years the freight industry will be supplying an extra two million Londoners; in the shops, at their work and at home. The silver lining to this imminent cloud is that London, through the 2012 Games and the Re-timing Deliveries Consortium, has proved that innovative attitudes can have a real impact. Moving deliveries to the right time will make the difference, improving road safety and relieving pressure on congestion.

“The sheer number of people at the inaugural Quiet Cities event shows that the appetite for this change is there, not just in London, or the UK, but across the globe.”

Tim Slater, managing director of Transport UK & Ireland at DHL, said: “As the world’s leading logistics provider, it is important that we remain at the forefront of the industry.

“By sharing best practice and innovative technologies, such as our new concept vehicle, retiming of deliveries to out of the peak can become a reality; ensuring reliability, easing congestion and improving road safety.”

Councillor Phil Jones, Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Transport and Planning, Camden Council, said: “Demand for deliveries continues to grow during peak hours and can have significant negative impacts on our local communities. I welcome the opportunity to trial how supermarket deliveries can be retimed to find the best solutions for local residents in light of local conditions. Councils need to work in partnership with TfL to ensure businesses act as good neighbours in our local communities.”

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