The temporary relaxation of drivers’ hours rules, introduced at the start of the Covid-19 crisis, ended on 14 June and relaxation of the EU drivers’ hours rules ended on May 31.
The change in drivers’ hours rules came as the Freight Transport Association (FTA) denounced the sudden introduction of temporary increased operating hours of the London Congestion Charge calling it ‘a tax on deliveries.’ From 22 June the Congestion Charge temporarily increased to £15 with operating hours extended to 07:00-22:00 seven days a week.
Natalie Chapman, Head of Urban Policy at FTA, expressed the sector’s disappointment: “The suspension of the London Congestion Charge back in March 2020 was extremely welcome in helping operators focus on dealing with the crisis. However, to reward this hard work – completed under very challenging circumstances – with such abrupt and significant changes to the London Congestion Charge is extremely disappointing to FTA and its members.”
It’s unclear how long the price hike and extended hours will remain in force. “FTA is also disappointed by the lack of consultation on such a significant decision, and, although the changes are only temporary, TfL has given no concrete indication of how long they will last. Permanent implementation should be out of the question.”
TFL argue that the changes will expedite the city’s move to non-fuel transportation. Alex Williams, TfL's Director of City Planning, said: 'It is not sustainable for London's recovery to be dominated by cars. We are already seeing a surge in traffic and need to act now to stop the city grinding to a halt. The temporary Congestion Charge changes are supporting our Streetspace programme, which will make it easier and safer for people to walk and cycle and keep the bus network reliable for those who need to use it.”
Earlier in June, as non-essential retail began opening, the FTA called for extended delivery times to be maintained. Elizabeth de Jong, policy director at FTA, said: “FTA campaigned successfully for delivery hours to be extended to strengthen the resilience of the supply chain during the pandemic; now, we are urging government to continue the relaxation as the nation emerges from lockdown to support economic and societal recovery from COVID-19.
“With ‘non-essential retail’ units permitted to open, we expect to see demand for products increase significantly; continued flexible delivery hours will allow logistics businesses to stock shops safely and efficiently while keeping up with demand. And, with Government plans to reallocate road space to cyclist and walkers, extended delivery hours will be needed due to restricted access.”