The failure of several local authorities in Scotland to include the needs of logistics in their active travel plans will be detrimental to the country’s ability to recover economically from the COVID-19 pandemic, according to FTA. The business group, which represents the logistics sector, is urging government to ensure any active travel plans produced by local authorities provide the scope needed for logistics operators to supply their customers safely and effectively. Mags Simpson, Head of Policy for Scotland at FTA, comments: “FTA is urging the Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Michael Matheson MSP, to remind local authorities and council leaders across Scotland that the logistics industry is going to play a vital role in the economic recovery of the nation; as such, it is essential the needs of logistics businesses are taken into account when developing active travel plans. While FTA and its members support the premise of the government’s active travel plan – to reallocate road space to cater for increased numbers of cyclists and pedestrians – we are very disappointed that Mr Matheson has failed to provide reassurance that the freight and logistics industry will be able to continue its essential work under the plans: keeping supplies moving around the country and within our Scottish towns and cities.”
Ms Simpson continues: “Earlier this month, when Mr Matheson first announced that active travel funding would be made available to local authorities in Scotland, I wrote to the 32 Council Leaders, outlining key industry concerns. This included the need to maintain kerb-side deliveries and service provision, in addition to ensuring journey times were not adversely affected. While the four local authorities from the TACTRAN (Regional Transport Partnership) group have been very supportive and understand fully the economic impacts of hindering freight traffic from traveling into towns and cities – this covers the regions of Angus, Stirling, Perth and Dundee – several other bodies have failed to engage with us. We have also had meaningful conversations with Glasgow City Council.
“At FTA, we encourage all other regional transport associations and local authorities in Scotland to agree to work with us to help the nation recover from COVID-19 as soon as possible. Our message to these bodies is clear: please consider the freight industry in any plans that include re-allocation of road space to cyclists and footpaths, in city or town centres, where deliveries have to happen at the roadside; the logistics sector will play a vital role in the nation’s economic and societal recovery from COVID-19 and its work should not be hindered.”
FTA is one of the UK’s leading business groups, representing logistics businesses which are vital to keeping the UK trading, and more than seven million people directly employed in the making, selling and moving of goods. With COVID-19, Brexit, new technology and other disruptive forces driving change in the way goods move across borders and through the supply chain, logistics has never been more important to UK plc. FTA supports, shapes and stands up for safe and efficient logistics, and is the only business group which represents the whole industry, with members from the road, rail, sea and air industries, as well as the buyers of freight services such as retailers and manufacturers whose businesses depend on the efficient movement of goods. For more information about the organisation and its work, including its ground-breaking research into the impacts of COVID-19 on the whole supply chain, please visit www.fta.co.uk.