Delivery companies should consider switching to cargo bike schemes where possible to cut carbon emissions, improve air quality and reduce congestion, a new report by the Local Government Association suggests today.

The LGA, which represents councils in England and Wales, is calling for couriers to adopt the environmentally friendly bikes, which offer a cost-effective and zero-carbon transport option, for “last mile” deliveries from local hubs to homes.

It comes as latest figures show that light commercial vehicle traffic, which includes online shopping delivery vans, is at pre-pandemic levels, and with more and more people doing their shopping online as a result of COVID-19, this is only likely to increase, the LGA says.

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

It says that courier bikes can replace up to 10 per cent 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 per cent over the course of a courier vehicle’s life cycle.

In addition, the bikes will help to tackle the issue of delivery vans clogging up road 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 use of e-cargo bikes having purchased the bikes for use by local businesses or for deployment within their own fleets.

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.”


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