Reducing freight traffic

Local sourcing, break bulk centres, alternative delivery serivces and rail freight

Promoting the local sourcing of food and materials is the best way to reduce the need for freight to travel far. CPRE published a major report on local food in 2012 as well as a toolkit to help local communities to map local food webs. Both can be found on our local foods page. Promoting the use of local materials in buildings can be helped through the planning process, particularly through neighbourhood plans and design statements - see the linking transport with planning section.

Break bulk or consolidation centres enable smaller vehicles to take goods for the final few miles. Rather than having a large lorry drive into a city centre with a load for just one shop, it can drop it off and then a smaller vehicle will deliver it together with loads for neighbouring shops. There are already schemes in London and Bristol and they are being considered in other cities such as York. Because the smaller vehicles make shorter trips, electric vehicles or even freight cycles can play a role. Such a scheme could also be possible in a rural area, with each place serviced by a daily delivery round.

Collection points or community hubs can allow deliveries to be picked up when it’s convenient, preventing the problem of deliveries not being able to be made because no one is at home.

Local delivery services,such as the milkman delivering more than milk, can be very useful, particularly to help local shops compete against supermarket delivery services. One example is Outspoken Deliveries, which operates a range of cycle freight services across Cambridge. Community run Demand Responsive Transport

Promoting alternatives such as rail or water freight will take longer to deliver but they help get the most weight off the roads. It’s important to ensure that planning policies protect wharves and railway sites that could be viable in the future for such services. It may be easier to encourage particular companies to use alternatives as part of their corporate social responsibility plans.

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