The Freight Transport Association has responded to the Transport for London (TfL) announcement today that its Safer Lorry Scheme, which will require sideguards and additional mirrors on almost all HGVs operating in the capital, will go live on 1 September 2015.
In its assessment of the final detail of the scheme, FTA has stated that compliance costs to industry have been minimised by TfL's sensible approach to its implementation, but still considers that this has not necessarily been the best way of improving cyclist safety and that money could possibly be better spent on increased enforcement against those not complying with safety requirements.
FTA's Head of Policy for London, Natalie Chapman, commented:
“FTA is pleased to see that the necessary exemptions and concessions for the vehicles for which this equipment is either not possible or not legal have been included within the requirements of the London Safer Lorry Scheme. However, in principle we believe that this kind of blunt regulatory tool is not the best way to improve cyclist safety. We still think that the money and effort spent on this scheme would have been better spent on increased enforcement against the small proportion of lorries that don't comply with existing regulations."
The Safer Lorry Scheme will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week and says that HGVs without safety equipment stated within it will be banned from all roads in Greater London from the beginning of September. The scheme will require all vehicles of more than 3.5 tonnes to be fitted with sideguards, along with Class V and Class VI mirrors, giving the driver a better view of cyclists and pedestrians around their vehicle.
FTA now advises all operators to ensure that any lorry that may need to access Great London in future has sideguards and Class V and VI mirrors fitted before 1 September unless it is subject to one of the remaining exemptions or concessions.
The Safer Lorry Scheme will be enforced by the police, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency and the joint TfL-funded Industrial HGV Taskforce. The maximum fine for each breach of the ban will be £1,000. The operator will also be referred for investigation to the relevant Traffic Commissioner, who is responsible for the licensing and regulation of HGV operators.