Memorandum by the Despatch Association
THE INTEGRATED TRANSPORT WHITE PAPER:
"A NEW DEAL FOR TRANSPORT: BETTER FOR EVERYONE"
The Despatch Association (DA) welcomes the publication
of the Government's plans for an integrated transport policy.
The UK Government is now committed to developing an integrated
and sustainable transport policy based on reducing car use and
encouraging alternative forms of transport. The DA supports the
encouragement of commuter alternatives to the car such as public
transport, motorcycling, cycling and walking.
The DA, however, has some concern about how
certain measures that are proposed in the White Paper will affect
the same-day courier industry. The courier industry makes a key
contribution to business efficiency through urban and inter-urban
same-day deliveries of urgent small to medium sized packages.
This work is undertaken in the main by light vans and motorcycles.
The same-day courier industry is made up of
over 3,000 UK companies, 500 of which are within the M25 belt.
It makes in excess of 750,000 deliveries per day and turns over
£750 million per annum. There are estimated to be 10,000
courier motorcycles operating within the M25 belt.
Although the White Paper goes into some detail
about road freight, there has been no consideration of the needs
of the courier industry. The DA feels that the following issues
The White Paper goes into some depth about charging
users on motorways and trunk roads. Given that the carriage of
goods by motorcycles is far more sustainable than with other modes,
we would not expect this to be discouraged by road pricing being
applied to motorcycle couriers. The use of motorcycles generally
should be encouraged by reduced levels of VED for small to medium
sized machines. Similarly light vans used for courier work often
travel in and out of cities several times a day. Charging these
vehicles to use the roads would add costs to business and cause
long-term problems for both the courier industry and UK business
Road pricing should be targeted at the types
of private car journeys where suitable alternatives exist, such
as commuting by car where public transport, cycling or motorcycling
provide an alternative. Road pricing should not be applied to
users of vehicles engaged in courier duties.
The delivery and collection of goods is a vital
component of business and the communications infrastructure of
this country. If this is discouraged by urban transport policy,
then companies may consider moving to out of town developments
in an effort to reduce costs. This is obviously undesirable from
an environmental point of view. Policy initiatives should not
serve to discourage businesses from urban areas.
For example, the DA feels that the London Red
Route traffic regulations are in need of attention. Exemptions
have been allowed for the loading and unloading of goods in designated
loading bays. However, these exemptions do not include the delivery
and collection of small packages by motorcycle or light van, unlike
the exemptions for non red routes. This anomaly causes misunderstanding
and brings the law into disrepute. Similarly, the decriminalisation
of parking enforcement in London generally has led to additional
costs to the courier industry, mainly due to increased levels
of inappropriate enforcement. The DA seeks a review of current
parking enforcement arrangements for vehicles engaged in courier
The DA looks to transport policymakers to recognise
the needs of the same-day courier industry and calls for existing
loading and unloading exemptions on red routes to be applied to
the delivery and collection of goods by motorcycle and light van.
In addition to this, the DA believes that facilities for courier
motorcyclists such as the creation of specific delivery bays for
motorcycles in the City of London and other inner city business
areas should be considered.
The White Paper's recognition of motorcycling
as an alternative mode is particularly welcome. The DA also welcomes
the announcement of an advisory group for motorcycles. In addition
to the consideration of motorcycle safety and environmental contribution,
the DA also seeks the consideration of motorcycles as part of
a sustainable distribution network.