In a move that could help improve the lot of cyclists in London, Mayor Boris Johnson wants to ban heavy vehicles from the centre of the capital.
Lorries and tipper trucks not only pose a threat to the safety of riders, they have a significantly detrimental effect on air quality and can cause excessive damage to road surfaces.
The Evening Standard reports that Boris Johnson told attendees at a People’s Question Time session that his plan would see heavy vehicles leaving goods at locations around the edges of central London before smaller, less polluting vehicles transfer the goods to their final destination.
The mayor said that if implemented, his plan would make a “real difference.” Pollution in London is said to contribute to the early deaths of between three- and five-thousand people there every year.
Kulveer Ranger, the Mayor's transport adviser, said: “He wants TfL to consider whether it might be possible for lorries and vans to stop at consolidation centres on the edge of our city and transfer their goods onto electric or low-emission vehicles for transport through London.
“This could have the double benefit of allowing us to reduce the number of large polluting vehicles but also combine the loads of smaller polluting lorries onto a carbon free vehicle.”
At the Question Time meeting Boris Johnson was also challenged as to why the Barclays cycle hire scheme has not been fully rolled out in the borough of Camden. His reply has caused a degree of consternation among residents as the Mayor effctively told them that the area is too hilly.
“We are working under severe financial restraints but we are moving eastwards – huge areas of Hackney will be covered," he said.
"We are trying to do a deal with a bank so that we can go considerably west. But parts of north London do get quite hilly. There are practical problems that start to impose themselves. There are natural limits to where we can go.”