Retail guru Mary Portas’ recommendation that night-time delivery restrictions could be lifted as one way to reinvigorate the UK’s ailing high streets has been backed by the Freight Transport Association. The leading trade body has long supported the method of delivering goods out-of-hours as it brings convincing environmental, economic and road safety benefits and, if best practice is adopted, should not disturb the residents who share the high street.
The Portas Review – An independent review into the future of our high streets, sets out 28 recommendations to the government. In it Portas identifies the need to lift restrictions as part of measures to deregulate the high street, she states: “Businesses big and small have told me that restrictions, such as restrictions on night-time deliveries and noise, are an issue for them trading in town. Too often the voice of the few inhibits the ambitions of our businesses and some small issue can stop a project in its tracks…”
Gordon Telling, FTA’s Head of Urban Policy, said:
“Our high streets rely on vans and trucks to stay open for business, but the Portas Review shows that excessive delivery restrictions have held back business growth. By allowing van and truck operators to deliver out-of-hours we will see improvements in congestion levels and air quality, less wasted fuel and more reliability built into our supply chains. The reduced peak-time traffic should also serve to make the high street more desirable for shoppers.”
Recent Quiet Delivery Demonstration Scheme (QDDS) trials undertaken by the FTA, Transport for London and the Noise Abatement Society (NAS) across six retail parks in England earlier in the year, concluded that by following best practice advice, night-time deliveries provide cost-saving and congestion-reducing benefits without disturbing local residents.
The government’s Logistics Growth Review recently announced that FTA and the NAS will be asked to build on the QDDS by expanding the existing Scheme’s best practice guidance into a toolkit that includes standards for quiet night-time deliveries and to identify if further government guidance is needed to promote uptake.
“Lifting night-time deliveries could provide meaningful ‘retail therapy’ for our ailing high streets. By adopting the best practice guidance that we have helped to develop, those commercial vehicle operators that shops and business around the country rely upon to stay open for business can help Britain’s high streets flourish.”