New roads plan ‘must carefully consider fleets and logistics’

Written by: Simon Pavey, Last updated:7th September 2021

The Freight Transport Association (FTA) has implored the government to carefully consider the logistics industry and fleet operators as it puts plans in place to re-open services post-coronavirus.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps this week unveiled a new strategy on the use of Britain’s road space as the nation takes tentative steps towards economic rejuvenation, which included encouraging alternative ways to travel.

Cycle and walk if you can

For instance, £2 billion of funding will be invested in promoting cycling and walking to work where possible, with government guidelines currently advising people against using public transport.

Mr Shapps said pop-up bike lanes, wide pavements and bus-only corridors will also begin to take shape within weeks.

However, the FTA’s head of urban policy Natalie Chapman warned the plans seemed to overlook logistics, particularly as the sector’s workers continue to struggle to keep the nation stocked up with necessary goods and services.

“While the government seeks to encourage active travel and social distancing through its strategy, which are both laudable ambitions, there are many areas affecting the safe movement of goods and services which have been left out of the plan,” she said.

The FTA has now written to transport minister Baroness Vere to request clarification on the plans and to call for assurance that delivery drivers will still be able to access kerbside drop-off points.

It also wants to ensure that any road closures to provide extra space for cyclists and walkers will not hinder the journeys of fleet drivers and cause chaos on other nearby routes.

This comes after the traffic commissioner for Great Britain praised key workers in the road haulage and passenger transport industries during the coronavirus outbreak, calling them “the lifeblood of this country, vital to our economy”.

Tom Cosway, brand representative at Fuel Card Services, comments: “With people being encouraged to go back to work this week, we are anticipating a spike in road traffic and cycling as commuters try to avoid trains. It is indeed important that this does not prevent business drivers from doing their jobs.”