Select Committee on the Crossrail Bill Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 4820 - 4839)

  4820. BARONESS FOOKES: I just wanted Mr Berryman to expand a little on the areas of management which I gather are right outside London, outside the M25. This, I gather, is where the major logistics will be planned and dealt with. Is that right?
  (Mr Berryman) That is right. I think there are effectively three classes of vehicles which will visit the site. There are concrete truck mixers which will be delivering concrete, there will be earth-moving lorries which will be taking excavated material away, not from the tunnels obviously, but from the works on the surface, and then there will be the delivery of goods and materials which are needed for the construction of the works. What we are seeking to do, and this is slightly off the topic of the Bill, is to build on the experience built up by supermarket chains and applied latterly to some large projects, in particular, Terminal 5 at Heathrow, where we get a supplier of a material, let's say, for example, tiles and all the tiles are delivered to a logistics site somewhere outside the M25 and they are then sorted into the loads for the different stations so that, instead of six different suppliers each bringing a small load of things to one station, you get big one load which comes in in one vehicle. You probably know that most of the deliveries that are made to sites are for relatively small quantities and what we want to try and do is build those quantities into bigger, more discreet delivery sets and, as I say, it is a system that has worked very well on Terminal 5. It is being used by a number of developers now in London and we plan to build on that.

  4821. So effectively you are taking the pressure off the actual site by organising it from outside and only bringing in things as they are required at the time they are required?
  (Mr Berryman) That is correct. Also, for some reason which I have never been able to get to the bottom of, suppliers seem to love to deliver things early, and they—

  4822. Or late sometimes.
  (Mr Berryman) Quite often late as well, but, apart from the impact that that has on the number of delivery vehicles, it also often makes it difficult to manage the site because you have got things lying about that you do not need for three months, so the idea of the logistics strategy is to avoid that as well.

  4823. LORD SNAPE: I presume, Mr Berryman, that lorries leaving the holding site will go up to the main road. Is that the Mile End Road, the main road?
  (Mr Berryman) It is, yes.

  4824. They will turn left and then left again to the first site or further down and turn right. In the event of a blockage, some hold-up, a bad traffic accident or whatever on the main road, would the lorry drivers be tempted to use one of the side roads as a shortcut? If the answer to that is yes, what would prevent them from doing so on a regular basis?
  (Mr Berryman) The answer is that it would be tempting, but they would not be allowed to do so.

  4825. Who would stop them though?
  (Mr Berryman) Well, as I think Mr Thornely-Taylor mentioned yesterday, on large construction sites there is a very well-established system for setting lorry routes and you will see signs all over the place, saying, "No M1 widening traffic this way", or something like that, and that is very well observed. We have consulted with our colleagues on the Channel Tunnel Rail Link and on other major projects and we know by experience that those route guidance things are very well enforced and there is never really a major problem.

  4826. But you know from your own experience, which is much wider than mine, that in the railway industry, for example, there is a bridge bashed somewhere in the country involving a heavy goods vehicle being wedged under a bridge, despite all the road signs, virtually every day of the year. Discipline of heavy goods vehicle drivers in this country does not seem to be particularly good, yet you are asking the Committee to believe that, as far as this particular scheme is concerned, everything will go superbly well and drivers will never deviate from the route that is laid down.
  (Mr Berryman) Well, we certainly have evidence that on large construction projects, and I am not speaking for the generality of heavy goods vehicle drivers by any stretch of the imagination, these routes are well observed. We have a typical sign here from the Channel Tunnel Rail Link, this is in the Highbury Corner area, where there is a specific sign up for the Channel Tunnel Rail Link works traffic to a particular site and it is something like that that we would be doing.

  4827. MR ELVIN: Mr Berryman, is it right that on Channel Tunnel there were, I think, two sackings of drivers who breached the requirements of the lorry routing?
  (Mr Berryman) I was not aware of that, but it would not surprise me.

  4828. BARONESS FOOKES: What is the precise system for the control of drivers to ensure that the rules are enforced because I am sure that this is something very much of concern to the residents?
  (Mr Berryman) I am sure. Well, the first thing is that every vehicle will carry identification to say that it is a Crossrail vehicle and it will have a number, each vehicle will have a discrete number, so, in the event that anyone observes a vehicle using a route which is not permitted, they will be able to approach our—

  4829. One-stop shop?
  (Mr Berryman) Yes, our one-stop shop in the case of Whitechapel, but I am not sure if we will have that on every site, but certainly there will be a mechanism for approaching this to report the miscreant and any appropriate action will be taken.

  4830. LORD SNAPE: Just going back to my original question, to which I did not get an answer, I am sure inadvertently, Mr Berryman, in the event of a substantial hold-up on the main road, would those drivers be authorised to use any other route or would they be expected to wait in the holding site perhaps for some hours in the event of a serious incident until that incident is cleared and the Mile End Road is free again for use?
  (Mr Berryman) It depends very much on the particular position of the particular vehicle. If the vehicle has arrived at the holding area and is being held, it would be expected to be held until whatever has happened could be cleared. If the vehicle has not arrived in the holding area and the holding area looks as if it is going to quickly fill up, that vehicle will be sent back to base. If a vehicle is between the holding area and the site and there is some necessity to clear the road, the vehicle will be expected to follow police instructions and, if the police instruct the vehicle to go on a non-permitted route, then the driver is allowed to do so, but only under those very limited circumstances.

  4831. CHAIRMAN: Have they all got radio communications?
  (Mr Berryman) Yes, my Lord.

  4832. MR ELVIN: Can I just understand this, Mr Berryman: that, as you explained to Lady Fookes, you have got your logistics site on the M25, lorries are then brought into the respective holding areas and they are then held for however long is required and then go to the site to avoid congestion and problems at the site, and it is a variant of, I think it is, the supermarkets' `just in time' deliveries strategy. Is that something which has to be looked at in tandem with the local authority regime for approving lorry routes?
  (Mr Berryman) I think that would be one of the basic factors which the local authority would seek to take into account when allocating lorry routes. Obviously it is something we need to negotiate with them. We have already entered into quite long discussions with Tower Hamlets in particular but other authorities as well and, no doubt, we will continue to do so until the time when the works are underway.

  4833. MR ELVIN: I have just had put up section 4.2 of the Construction Code which is part of D1 and that is the requirement for lorry management plans which are part of the Schedule 7 approvals process with the local authorities and that includes local roads to be used by lorries, lorry holding areas, lorry routes signing strategy, the means of monitoring lorry use and any routes prohibited from use.[19] Would this allow the local authorities, for example, to stipulate, if we take Lord Snape's comments, whether there were routes that could be used in an emergency or a procedure which ought to be taken if there was an emergency blockage? Could that be used as mechanism if the local authority thought it appropriate?

  (Mr Berryman) It could be if the local authority felt it was appropriate. I think in the particular case we are looking at right now it is probably not particularly relevant because there are not terribly many diversion routes along the Mile End Road.

  4834. LORD YOUNG OF NORWOOD GREEN: Can I ask how you are going to fulfil bullet point four? I assume that is an obligation on you, not just the local authority when it says, "means of monitoring lorry use and any routes prohibited". How do you intend to do that?
  (Mr Berryman) We normally have a system of site inspection, inspectors who are responsible for a number of things, to make sure the contractors comply with the requirements we put on them. Obviously the works will be done by works contractors, as you will appreciate, and they will probably have subcontractors who provide them with lorries and the like, but the general way in which contracts are enforced is by having inspectors who go around and inspect the works.

  4835. LORD YOUNG OF NORWOOD GREEN: That is the works, I am talking about the route.
  (Mr Berryman) They will also inspect other things as well, environmental impacts generally not just the lorry route.

  4836. MR ELVIN: You will say lorries will have numbers so they can be identified if a member of the public or an inspector or someone else sees a lorry off the route. Is that something in addition to the normal number plate?
  (Mr Berryman) Yes, this will be a specific Crossrail number.

  4837. Where will it be displayed? What is the normal practice for these things?
  (Mr Berryman) Sometimes they put them in the cab on the side window or on the side of the vehicle, normally have one at the front and one in the back. Maybe one in the windscreen and one stuck on the back of the tipper.

  4838. MR ELVIN: Again, is that something which the local authority could stipulate in terms of the approvals under Schedule, 7, i.e. highly visible appropriate numbering so those who are monitoring can easily check?
  (Mr Berryman) Yes, I am sure they could. It is a very well-established industry procedure these days.

  4839. LORD YOUNG OF NORWOOD GREEN: I am willing to believe that, but I am still not utterly convinced. That relies on the public. That relies on something going wrong. Really what I wanted to ensure was that the lorry drivers would not even be tempted because they know they are likely to be spotted by an inspector if we go off-route and I think that is where there does seem to be a slight gap. Certainly when you are establishing that initial use, having a couple of people visible on key sections of the route. The notice in the cab or visibly displayed that is great, but that means the system has gone wrong.

19   Crossrail Information Paper D1-Crossrail Construction Code (LINEWD-IPD1-027) Back

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