We recently attended the LLCS Review Operators’ Workshop, which highlighted major concerns within the road transport, logistics and construction sectors that the London Lorry Control Scheme is out of date and no longer fit for purpose. The consensus amongst participants was that the scheme needed significant changes to make it more appropriate for modern, urban transport operations. There was also a feeling that in its present format the scheme, aimed at minimising noise pollution in residential areas during unsocial hours, conflicted with other initiatives that are focused on lowering emissions, reducing fuel consumption and easing congestion.
With the first fundamental LLCS review in its 30-year history underway, the event was designed to capture operator feedback on some key aspects of the scheme, notably: the weight limit and hours of control; restricted roads and signage; and the administrative process, compliance and enforcement. The aim of the review is to determine the current effectiveness of the scheme and propose short, medium and long term changes that will ultimately improve compliance and help better control freight in London.
A number of key conclusions came out of the LLCS Review: Operators Workshop:
1. Different users have different needs, so the scheme needs to consider adapting rules depending on the industry sector. For example, construction, waste and resurfacing companies all need to operate at night or very early morning.
2. The ERN (Excluded Road Network) – the main arterial roads around London that are exempt from the LLCS – is inappropriate and not fit for purpose. The current system does not include enough roads into the centre of London, which adds time and fuel. As a result, one operator said the biggest constraint for CO2 reduction is the LLCS.
3. Hours of operation need to be assessed. Operators in the construction industry made it clear that the current midnight to 7am window should be revised to apply from midnight to 5am, particularly as TfL expect deliveries to be made to building sites before 7am.
4. Weight limit needs review, because modern vehicles produce less noise pollution than vehicles did when the scheme was first introduced. The current weight limit of 18t MGW is no longer appropriate as construction vehicles with a 26t MGW are as efficient and can carry more load. Operators are getting around this by running multiple smaller vehicles which increases mileage, hours, fuel and CO2.
5. Operators want to see pilot schemes set up to determine if any proposed changes work before being implemented.
Many of the operators recognised that technology had an important role to play in overcoming some of these issues but felt existing tools fell short of the support their operations needed. For example technology is needed to support compliance monitoring, the administration process for faster handling of penalty notices and appeals, Sat Nav compliant routing, and the operational planning process to create compliant delivery schedules.
This latter point has long been an issue for many of our own customers distributing goods into London. Working out routes and schedules for their fleets that are both optimised and take account of the complexity of the LLCS is a challenge indeed! At Paragon we have invested a huge amount of R&D into this issue, and as a result, we have recently added two new solutions to our route optimisation systems.
Our Route Control tool enables planners to build compliant routes, cutting the time spent on manual planning, minimising the impact of the LLCS and lowering the risk of incurring penalty fines. While our Waypoint Mapping software helps enforce plans once drivers leave base. It feeds details direct to the driver, providing turn-by-turn guidance through a Sat Nav device to ensure compliant routes are followed.
If you would like to discuss how Paragon’s routing and scheduling software could help you comply with LLCS and other time-sensitive route restrictions, reducing operational costs and administration, then why not get in touch. Alternatively if you‘d like to find out more about the LLCS review then take a look at the London Councils’ website where you can find the presentations given during the Operators’ Workshop.
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