Sadiq Khan aims to protect London cyclists by taking the 35,000 most dangerous HGVs currently operating in London off the streets by January 2020. However, the Mineral Products Association (MPA) says this will damage the capital’s ability to deliver new housing and infrastructure and will not improve road safety.
It says banning all high ground clearance HGVs ignores the reality that such vehicles are still needed, for example to remove soils and clay from new construction sites and to deliver materials to former mineral workings to enable the restoration of land to beneficial after use.
MPA Chief Executive Nigel Jackson said: “We are very disappointed that the mayor has unilaterally decided to ban 35,000 HGVs without any obvious discussion with industry on the implications of his decision. There seems to be no recognition of the link between any vision for London and the practicalities of how we are going to make that happen and the vital role transport must play in delivering that vision on the ground.
“We hope that the mayor takes note of the concerns of our sector, which supplies the greatest tonnages of essential products to the construction industry in the capital, and he agrees to engage with the industry as a matter of some urgency.”
Announcing the plans, Khan said off-road HGVs were involved in around 70% of HGV cyclist fatalities in the last three years. In 2014 and 2015 HGVs were involved in 58% of cyclist fatalities on London roads and 22.5% of pedestrian fatalities. He said he will work with developers and councils to eliminate trucks with poor vision from supply chains in future.
He said: “I’m not prepared to stand by and let dangerous lorries continue to cause further heartbreak and tragedy on London’s roads. The evidence is clear – HGVs have been directly involved in over half of cycling fatalities over the last two years, and we must take bold action to make our roads safer for both cyclists and pedestrians.”
Khan added: “By continuing to work closely with industry, using TfL and public sector procurement and announcing our plans now, I’m confident that many of our lorries will now be upgraded well before the ban comes into place, and the benefits of a new era of modernised and safer HGVs felt by all road users across London.”
The MPA has accused the mayor of undermining the ‘CLOCS initiative’, which has equipped lorries with additional safety equipment and improved the planning of deliveries to sites to reduce interaction with vulnerable road users. The ban would affect HGVs with less direct vision, including those fitted with cameras and sensors to tackle blind spots. The MPA says this fails to tackle the wider issue of blind spots in vehicles that would escape the ban.
“MPA members are absolutely committed to improving road safety for all vulnerable road users and have been leading supporters of the CLOCS initiative from the outset,” said Jackson. “This is not just talk, our industry has taken very significant practical action and invested heavily in training and technology.”