RHA manifestos outline regional haulage priorities

By Categories: NewsPublished On: Friday 19 April 2024

The Road Haulage Association (RHA) has published manifestos setting out its key industry priorities for London and combined authorities in England, ahead of local and mayoral elections on 2 May.

Among the association’s key recommendations for London, echoing a similar call by Logistics UK in February, is that a freight commissioner be appointed to coordinate logistics policy across devolved government in the capital, acting as a liaison between bodies such as Transport for London (TfL), London Councils and Freight Quality Partnerships.

This, says RHA, would ensure that the industry’s needs are considered and embedded in the policymaking process, as well as the London Plan.

The RHA also calls for the establishment of a London freight council, which would bring together industry representatives and government officials from across the Greater London region, in a bid to ensure improved understanding and a focus on delivering for Londoners.

The association highlighted the need to ensure road freight regulation is backed by industry.

“With a voice for road freight and logistics established in London government, we can work together to ensure any policy or regulations relevant to those delivering for the capital is supported by the industry and will achieve desired outcomes,” it said.

It also emphasised the need for maintenance of access for lorries where required.

“We seek a commitment from the Mayor of London and TfL to identify and maintain key freight routes in the capital which could reduce congestion and improve air quality,” said the RHA.

“The mayor should also consider traffic prioritisation on these routes including allowing bus lanes to be used by HGVs to reduce congestion. Major infrastructure projects and new developments must ensure adequate loading bays and kerbside access are provided to HGVs to ensure efficient deliveries.”

For the passenger service sector, the association advocated the creation of a London Coach Strategy, which would be focused on improving the coordination between TfL and local authorities on operators’ infrastructure needs, as well as measures to deter idle running and unnecessary circulation.

Skills gaps were also a key focus, with RHA calling on the next mayor to ensure industry access to required local skills via the London Local Skills Improvement Plan (LSIP), the devolved adult education budget, and skills bootcamps. It added that the adult education budget must meet freight and coach industry needs in order to ensure leaners can secure employment in the sectors.

RHA managing director Richard Smith commented: “We are committed to working with the next mayor of London to ensure more efficient freight and coach journeys.

“Our members based in the capital stand ready to work with the next mayor to take forward the priorities within this manifesto and ensure London’s commercial vehicle sector has the support it needs.”

A separate manifesto focusing on combined authorities in England laid out the association’s priorities for the so-called ‘metro mayors’, who will also be elected across the Midlands and northern England on 2 May.

The association called for the development of clear and coherent road freight strategies in consultation with industry, supporting businesses and the net zero transition.

It also underlined the importance of education for constituent authorities and officials on the role and operations of the haulage and coach sectors, and the need for full consultation and collaboration on policies that would impact operations – for example, road safety measures, air quality controls and anti-congestion policies.

In addition, it advocated the allocation of devolved transport funding to create a defined list of local road improvements, thus supporting schemes to improve vital regional freight corridors.

On skills, it called for prospective metro mayors to encourage education providers to support the courses and qualifications required by the road transport industry in their areas, and to provide funding support via the adult education budget for HGV mechanics’ courses, including assistance with equipment purchase.

Provision of Category C bootcamps should continue for those looking to join the industry, meanwhile, with new bootcamps for Category D licences, tyre fitters and vehicle inspection.

Richard Smith added: “Combined authorities play a crucial role in strategic planning, particularly in transportation, skills and business support.

“It’s essential they continue to collaborate with the haulage and coach sectors, and other key players to drive regional and national economic growth.”