Construction congestion – a vicious circle by Kirsten Tisdale of Aricia Limited

Posted on: Thursday, 3 March 2016 by Jackie Langridge in category London

(The views and opinions expressed by the authors of these blogs are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect those of the Freight Transport Association)

What’s happened to planning permission in central London, or even planning? In the Blitz, more than 1m houses were destroyed or damaged. If you’ve sat on the top deck of a bus over the past few months (and with apologies to those who lived through the war or lost loved ones), you’d be forgiven for questioning whether those statistics were then or now – there are great holes in the ground everywhere.

In the March 2016 edition of the FTA’s magazine, Freight & Logistics, Natalie Chapman, FTA Head of Policy for London commented on the Mayor of London’s proposals for major new bike routes across the capital, saying “We are already seeing massive delays on Lower Thames Street due to the construction of the East-West Cycle Superhighway.” But the crucial thing is that it’s not just cycle superhighways, but Crossrail, major road improvements, reconstruction of junctions, a multitude of skyscrapers …

Delays in the city are now such that you wouldn’t believe that there was a congestion charge - while the congestion charge is an effective tool in making individuals consider whether they really need to drive in, it’s not going to work when the goods on that truck are required within the zone.
Back in 2010 there was a GLA publication ‘Determining the External Costs of Road Freight Activity in London’ by Nick Ennis which stated that “The construction industry is responsible for around 40 per cent of both HGV and LGV* travel in London.” And that was before the current construction boom.
*LGV presumably meaning Light Goods Vehicles here - don’t get me started!

In August last year, the FT carried an article about London dethroning Brussels to become the congestion capital of Europe, which specifically referred to the large construction projects currently being undertaken.
In the Freight & Logistics article quoted above, Natalie Chapman also commented “This is resulting in some companies putting more vans and lorries on London’s roads to deliver the same quantity of goods, either to comply with the maximum shifts required under EU drivers’ hours rules or to maintain customer service levels.” A vicious circle.

I am not anti-investment or anti-construction by any means, but there has to be some prioritisation before further permissions are granted either for public infrastructure changes or for private development. The impact on London’s congestion, and its knock-on effects on people trying to do their jobs, must be considered. Some of the current projects have to be finished before even more fresh ones are initiated.

 

Kirsten Tisdale is principal of logistics consulting company Aricia Limited and a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Logistics & Transport. Aricia has been an FTA member since 2002.

Determining the External Costs of Road Freight Activity in London: https://www.london.gov.uk/sites/default/files/gla_migrate_files_destination/wp-41-web.pdf
FT article: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/844ec314-4817-11e5-b3b2-1672f710807b.html#axzz41fVpUcNM
Not quoted in article: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3032452/More-200-tower-blocks-planned-London-s-skyline.html

 

Kirsten Tisdale

 

 

 

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