London's freight operators are today (15th February) celebrating, after it was confirmed the Transport Secretary has blocked plans for a dramatic increase in Red Route Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs). The penalties are imposed on vehicles which stop or park on some of the capital's main arterial routes.
The Freight Transport Association (FTA), the UK's leading body representing the logistics sector, led the fight to stop the increases, in an effort to keep the Capital trading. It has welcomed the decision to scrap the plans, which it says would have caused havoc for London's freight operators, unfairly punishing firms which move goods in and out of the city.
Transport for London announced its intention to increase Red Route PCNs from £130 to £160 in December last year. It claimed the existing charge had become an ineffective deterrent and the number of motorists issued with more than one penalty charge notice was rising. However, FTA believes there is no evidence to show that increasing the fines as proposed, would have reduced illegal stopping.
The Department for Transport has now confirmed the Transport Secretary has intervened to stop the increases. Chris Grayling MP, has written to the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, to explain his decision. He says the rises would be ‘excessive' and there is no evidence to support TfL's claim that the fine levels for penalty charge notices are no longer working.
FTA's Head of Urban Policy, Natalie Chapman is delighted by the news:
"FTA raised its very serious concerns about these increases from the outset. I am relieved Mr Grayling was able to see the injustice of the plans and intervene to stop them. Many freight companies are struggling in the current economic climate, and piling on yet another business cost could have been disastrous for the smooth movement of goods around the capital and may have had a serious impact on its trading future.
Ms Chapman went on to explain: "TfL's own research points to a growth in repeat offending, which means many of the vehicles getting these penalty notices are likely to be trucks and vans. They need to park on red routes to complete vital collections and deliveries. In many cases, there is simply nowhere else for drivers to stop legally.
"No responsible truck operator wants to break the law, and keeping Red Routes moving is in everyone's interests. FTA is keen to work with TfL to find a solution to these problems. Freight is the Capital's lifeline and the companies which keep the city moving should not be penalised for doing a fantastic job under difficult circumstances."
Efficient logistics are vital to keep Britain trading, directly having an impact on more than eight million people employed in the making, selling and moving of goods. With Brexit, new technology and other disruptive forces driving change in the way goods move across borders and through the supply chain, logistics has never been more important to UK plc.
A champion and challenger, FTA is the only organisation representing the entire logistics industry. FTA speaks to Government with one voice on behalf of the whole sector, with members from the road, rail, sea and air industries, as well as the buyers of freight services such as retailers and manufacturers.