Memorandum by Somerfield Plc (IT 88)
INTEGRATED TRANSPORT WHITE PAPER
Relevant elements of the White Paper
Proposed restriction on delivery times are likely
to severely limit daytime deliveries.
The problem is achieving a balance between reducing
emissions (slow day-time traffic increases emissions; faster,
unimpeded drivingi.e., at nightreduces emissions)
and reducing night time noise which offends residents when stores
are based within the community/high street leading to delivery
Somerfield is willing to work to reduce daytime
deliveries because the times of busiest traffic makes it harder/slower
for us to deliver and weight of traffic increases harmful emissions.
But inconsistency of delivery restrictions imposed by local authorities
makes servicing community and high street stores extremely difficult.
Inconsistency relates to permitted timings as well as permitted
size of vehicles.
The difficulties are compounded by local authorities
adding to regulations by reducing the size of lorry used for delivering
to stores despite the White paper suggesting that EU standard
lorries may be permitted on our roads. Imposing restrictions on
lorry sizes increases the number of deliveries.
Example: At Paddock Wood, near Sevenoaks, Kent,
the Local Authority has banned standard lorries permitting a maximum
of 7.5 tonnes. This means that the store requires four deliveries
each day instead of one.
We are currently running a trial of night time
deliveries to all south west stores. However this is threatened
by night time delivery restrictions.
Example: currently 26 per cent of our stores
are subject to delivery restrictions. Those restrictions are not
Canford Heath in Dorset store may only receive
deliveries between 6 am and 9 pm. Two Tesco stores within two
miles have no delivery restrictions. In Ledbury, Hereford and
Worcester, we can deliver only between 7 am and 6 pm. The competitors
locally can deliver between 7 am and 11 pm.
In the attempt to balance the environmental
problem of noise, Somerfield has carried out an audit of the areas
of potential problem. The results show that the actual noise of
a vehicle is not the difficulty, it is that generated by roll
cages, sliding doors on warehouses and the movement of machinery.
As a result the company is making changes such as putting rubber
wheels on rollcages, quieter sliding doors. Individually not a
large job but a huge one when, for instance collectively the company
owns hundreds of thousands of cages.
2. CAR PARKING
The White Paper recommends using tolls as a
mechanism for controlling/reducing town centre traffic. Town centre
car parking for non-residents has also been proposed although
we understand that the potential imposition of out of town parking
taxes has been dropped. There is an added implication relating
to the proposal to apply workplace parking charges.
The existence and viability of the high street
and community shopping area is heavily if not wholly dependant
on the availability of good food shopping. The weight of the average
weekly family shopping is 80 lbstoo much for people to
carry. Imposing heavier car parking charges as a direct deterrent
to using cars in townwhile not doing the same to out of
town storeswill drive people away from town centres. The
provision of good public transport is not enough to retain in-town
Research by Somerfield on the relationship of
food shopping in the high street with other forms of shopping
showed that for every £1 spent in our stores which are in
the centre of town, an additional 46p is spent in other local
People who work in towns usually shop in towns.
If there are penalties imposed deterring them from bringing in
their car it will also drive them to shop out of town at weekends
and thus contribute to the erosion of the high street.
Many of our stores serve rural communities for
whom the car is a necessity, not a luxury. If the deterrent to
drive into local towns and communities was imposed then the viability
of our operating in those communities would rapidly reduce bringing
food deserts to rural areas not just in inner cities.
Note: we do operate in a number of the inner
city areas too. We have a number of Somerfield and Kwik Save stores
operating in areas that would be considered "deprived"
and if we withdrew it would seriously affect the availability
of fresh food in that area.
The most efficient method of encouraging shopping
by public transport is to reduce the weight of shopping by offering
a home delivery service. Somerfield's delivery service is operating
in approximately 250 stores. This is an efficient method of transporting
domestic shopping while not preventing or deterring people from
shopping in town since it is a carry home service not a substitute
Now we are trialling in two stores a service
of shopping by phone or fax.
3. OTHER CONSIDERATIONS
Transport and the Community
Somerfield is far away the biggest food provider
within local communities having over 1,400 stores under the Somerfield,
Kwik Save, Gateway fascia.
Research shows that Somerfield shoppers have
less cars per household and travel less far to shop.
Support for in town community stores will therefore
help the poorer members of those communities and reduce emissions
from the cars of the shoppers themselves.
Further the debate regarding transport policy
focuses on the reduction of emissions of harmful gases and this
is clearly a far bigger issue in the long term than that of noise.
High emissions have been shown to damage health,
in particular causing an increase in asthma in our children.
Somerfield believe that emission reduction is
correctly the focus of the transport policy and that a relaxation
of delivery windows would support emission reduction.
4. WHAT WE
In considering the issues which affect our ability
to serve our 15 million customers we would wish:
1. Representations of national and local business
on regional and local transport planning forums to aid understanding
of operational issues and ensure an "even playing field"
in the implementation of local regulations.
2. Recognition of the necessity of car usage
by rural communities served by stores in small townsand
thus avoiding further economic penalties on this section of the
3. Introduction of policy measures rather than
financial disincentives to control peak time congestion and therefore
encourage more flexible working hours.
4. Prevent local authorities from introducing
vehicle size reductions in town centres.
5. Introduce incentives to encourage investment
in low noise, low emission vehicles.