UK parcel delivery companies urged to swap large vans for cargo bikes

Parcel delivery companies should consider switching to cargo bike schemes, a new report by the UK Local Government Association (LGA) suggests. The LGA, which represents councils in England and Wales, is calling for couriers to adopt environmentally friendly cargo bikes, which offer a cost-effective and zero-carbon transport option, for last-mile deliveries from local hubs to homes.

The LGA’s new report, Transport decarbonization by traveling less, says switching to cargo bikes will help address concerns about the rise of largely diesel vans operating in busy urban areas and residential streets, contributing to poor air quality, congestion, and loss of local amenity.

The report says that courier bikes can replace up to 10 percent of conventional vans in areas where the final delivery route is no more than 2 km, without changing the overall network efficiency. They can also reduce current urban delivery carbon emissions by 73 percent over the course of a courier vehicle’s life cycle. Bikes will help to tackle the issue of delivery vans clogging up roads and in some cases pavement space as they make deliveries in smaller residential streets. Cargo bikes are popular in Holland, Germany, and Denmark, and local businesses are also starting to take advantage.

Councils are already promoting the use of cargo bikes having purchased the bikes for use by local businesses or for deployment within their own fleets:

  • Cambridgeshire County Council in a joint project with Cambridge City Council plans to deploy 30 e-cargo bikes covering first-mile deliveries, a residential sharing scheme, a “try before you buy” leasing scheme, and pool e-cargo bikes with a combined aim of reducing travel emissions and encouraging active and sustainable transport options.
  • Devon County Council plans to use 13 e-cargo bikes in Exeter to support sustainable active business travel, as an alternative to car and van use. Two of the bikes will be used by the local hospital’s adult and social care teams to care for some of the most isolated people in the city.
  • Nottingham City Council is establishing a fleet to be used by the council to replace journeys around the city and parks. They will also be made available to local project delivery partners and to local businesses on a “try before you buy” basis.

Cllr David Renard, LGA transport spokesperson, said: “Courier firms have played a vital role during the coronavirus crisis in continuing to provide a delivery service while people have been unable to get out and about as they would in normal times. Online shopping will continue to grow, and so will our reliance on courier services. This has unfortunately seen the consequence of large delivery vans clogging up street space, increasing congestion, and in some cases causing a rise in air pollution. We need to look at how we manage online deliveries in the future and consider new delivery options which are more climate and road-friendly. Swapping large vans for cargo bikes is one way in which we can make a really positive difference to our environment and help achieve the country’s carbon reduction targets.”

The LGA is hosting a webinar on this subject on November, 24 2020, 10.30am – 12.00pm. Places on the webinar are now available.

Source: LGA

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