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Report outlines roadmap to make deliveries more sustainable

The UK’s delivery boom will become unmanageable without a new sustainable approach, warns Centre for London in a new report. 

With the number of parcels delivered in London expected to double by 2030, the report published by the think tank outlines a new roadmap to make deliveries more sustainable. 

The proposals include introducing 65,000 pick-up points and lockers for parcel deliveries, new mayoral powers to incentivise deliveries to pick-up points instead of homes, and prioritising delivery and servicing vehicles under a London-wide pay-per-mile road user charging scheme. 

Current delivery methods have a big impact on the environment, most goods and services are moved by diesel and petrol vans which contribute up to a quarter of London’s carbon emissions and particulate matter (PM2.5) emissions from transport. 

The report argues that consumers need to change their behaviour, but also states that businesses, national and local governments must also act to turn the tide on an unsustainable system and reduce the number of polluting van and lorry journeys at all stages of the delivery process.  

man standing in front of DHL truck door

The report calls on the Mayor of London to work with parcel delivery companies to put 90% of Londoners within 250 metres of a universal parcel pick-up/drop-off point by 2025.

Currently, just 17% of parcels are delivered this way in London, despite pick-up options generally being cheaper than home deliveries.

If progress on setting up universal pick-up points is too slow, the report also recommends that the Mayor of London is given new powers to incentivise Londoners to use pick-up/drop-off locations. This could include an online sales tax for at-home deliveries which would also encourage delivery companies to set up more pick-up/drop-off locations across the city.  

The authors also state that the Mayor should introduce a pay-per-mile road user charging scheme that could give priority to delivery and servicing vehicles. This would help to cut congestion, save time and money for drivers and businesses, and reduce the number of private car trips. 

Nicolas Bosetti, head of data and insight, at Centre for London said:  ‘Delivery drivers and service workers need to be able to get from A to B as quickly and efficiently as possible.   

‘Londoners may like the convenience of doorstep deliveries but the way we currently move most of our goods comes at a high cost for our health, climate and for the businesses and workers who need to use our roads to get around.  

‘Many delivery companies already have plans to make their journeys more sustainable, but we need to encourage them to deliver to and from fewer places and support more of them to switch to cleaner vehicles. This means creating space for pick up points, consolidation centres and electric vehicle charging points.  

‘They won’t be able to do this alone. The Mayor of London and London’s boroughs need to take action to make freight journeys as green and clean as possible, alongside serious investment from the government too.’

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