Worth the Weight: Making London’s deliveries greener and smarter

This report looks at how to create a greener and more efficient freight and logistics ecosystem in London.

Freight and deliveries enable London’s economy to function. From the food we eat and the appliances we buy, to construction materials and COVID-19 vaccines, all the goods we need and many of the services we rely on need to travel across the city. However, the number of freight vehicles and the distance they travel has surged over the last decade as demand for online shopping has increased. This has come at a high cost for the capital, increasing congestion and contributing to carbon emissions and air pollution.

With the number of parcels delivered in London expected to double by 2030, this report sets out an ambitious roadmap to make deliveries and freight journeys more sustainable and efficient. It argues that Londoners need to change their behaviour, while businesses, national and local government must also act to turn the tide on an unsustainable system, reducing the number of polluting van and lorry journeys at all stages of the delivery process.

Key recommendations

  • The Mayor should work with parcel delivery companies to put 90 per cent of Londoners within 250 metres of a universal parcel pick-up/drop-off point by 2025. If progress on this is too slow, the Mayor could be given new powers to incentivise their use, such as introducing an online sales tax for at-home deliveries.
  • The Mayor of London should introduce a pay-per-mile road user charging scheme that gives priority to delivery and servicing vehicles.
  • National government should fund the installation of electric charging facilities at commercial properties like consolidation centres.
  • National government should also invest in reactivating London’s piers, wharves and rail-road interchanges so that the river and railways are viable alternatives to road freight.
  • London boroughs and Transport for London should embrace dynamic and digitalised kerb management, which would give delivery vehicles safer and more reliable access to the kerb.
  • London boroughs should make delivery consolidation a requirement in planning applications for all new major developments.

The full list of our recommendations can be found here.

Research for this report was carried out according to a mixed-methods research, including a literature review, interviews with 25 freight and logistics specialists and a survey of 30 local businesses on Old Kent Road.

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