In recent weeks proposals have been put forward looking to ban lorries and trucks from entering city centres during peak times. The move has been called for after a spate of accidents involving lorries and cyclists resulting in the death of seven cyclists so far in 2015. Truck maintenance specialists Vardens have been looking at how such a ban would work and what affect it would have on the industry.
The idea of banning lorries from city centres is not a new one, London mayor Boris Johnson told the London Assembly in 2013 that he was “not adverse to the idea instinctively” although conceded that a lot of research was needed to determine how it would work. The proposals have also gathered support from other high profile politicians including stand in labour leader Harriet Harman who tweeted in May:
— Harriet Harman (@HarrietHarman) May 28, 2015
Sir Steven House, head of Scotland’s police force has recently urged the Government to act and instigate a change in the design of lorries which he believes would help reduce further incidents. With the cab sitting so high off the ground it can be difficult to see directly in front and if a person or cyclist steps out then the driver may not even be aware that they have done so.
Traffic during some city centre peak times is already at breaking point so any ban that removes certain vehicles from the road during that time would be welcomed by motorists.
So how would a ban work?
The ban would see certain areas of cities ‘off limits’ to lorry drivers during specific time periods – if caught driving through these areas then it is thought this would be punishable with a fine. But who would be liable? The driver? Their employer? Or possibly even the receiving party? All three have a case for and against which is why the wider implications would need to be thoroughly considered.
Banning lorries from entering cities, particularly London, would be largely opposed by many businesses, especially those in the haulage industry who regularly use major routes through the capital to transport goods and items. Deliveries would have to be precisely scheduled and thoroughly planned to ensure that certain times were avoided – something that Christopher Snelling, head of urban logistics at the Freight Transport Association, has said is completely unfeasible. Would exceptional circumstance be taken into consideration? And how far would they go? Would a lorry driver who became stuck in traffic trying to get out of the city be punished?
It would be considered a bold political move for any Government to introduce a ban of this nature and we still appear to be a long way off although with support continuing to build it may one day become a reality.