Local Planning Authorities (LPAs) in Greater London have a statutory responsibility to minimise disruption to nearby residents and the local economy caused by the construction phase of a development.
These responsibilities can place requirements upon developers and contractors to ensure the effect of construction traffic is minimised. Indeed, before any building work can even start the LPA has to approve a construction logistics plan (CLP), if this is rejected, it can result in expensive delays.
CLPs rely on a number of key stakeholders to work together. The developers are responsible for getting the terms of a CLP agreed by the planning authority, and typically create an Outline CLP (usually written by an independent specialist) that examines the likely effect of the development’s transport operations.
From that outline, the contractors (ie the construction companies) then create a Detailed CLP that reflects the actual plans for the site. It is the contractor that is responsible for the day-to-day management of the site and ensuring the CLP is properly implemented.
A successful CLP
Hauliers have to compy with the CLP measures when it comes to site delivery and waste removal activities.
A successful CLP will forecast the likely effect of construction traffic in terms of increased noise, pollution (emissions and dust), vibration, congestion and parking problems along with any road safety risks posed by vehicles driving to and from, and entering and leaving, the site. It will then have to show what steps construction site operators and supplying hauliers will be taking to mitigate these unwanted effects.
As well as those areas of concern, a comprehensive CLP will also include details of the projected total number of vehicles visiting a site; proposed vehicle delivery routes; planned vehicle holding areas; opportunities for load consolidation; and awareness of nearby sensitive sites like schools and hospitals.
There should also be a consideration as to whether other methods of transport like rail or waterways (often referred to as planned measures) can be used to transport materials to and from the site. If alternatives are not viable, it has to be explained why.
TfL says: “A well-written CLP not only benefits the local environment but also saves costs by encouraging efficient working practices and reducing deliveries”.
Given the key role hauliers play in delivering a successful CLP, it is hardly surprising TfL’s freight and fleet programme manager Peter Binham is keen for them to get involved in CLP discussions at the earliest possible opportunity. Yet it is not unusual for them to be consulted at a very late stage, and in some cases they are simply handed the CLP by the developer and expected to deliver it.
“Historically, there’s been a disconnect between the person completing the CLP and the person expected to undertake it,” Binham adds.
To tackle this disconnect, TfL has issued CLP guidance documents that remind developers of the value of bringing their transport providers into the CLP loop at a much earlier stage. Given hauliers’ expertise in smarter routeing and loading, and the opportunities to reduce the number of vehicle journeys, the benefits of having early dialogue are obvious.
However, there are other important elements TfL wants to see in future CLP submissions. Namely, evidence that only the most professional and compliant construction logistics firms are working in London and their vehicles are compatible with local traffic and vulnerable road users.
As Binham explains: “The must-haves we’re looking for from logistics providers are quality, environmental and safety standards, so that’s Fors and Clocs as well as an effective delivery management system that’s fully integrated with the developer.
“We also want proof of an ability to monitor and review within the CLP. It should be a live document and not just something that’s completed at planning stage then put on the shelf to collect dust.”
Despite the potential advantages of closer working some operators may think: “What if I respond to a tender request and provide a lot of information for a CLP but don’t get the job? That’s time and money wasted”. But, as developers and construction companies come under increasing pressure from TfL and the LPAs to minimise the effect on local communities, hauliers prepared to reduce the effect of traffic stand a better chance of winning the work than those that are not.
Moreover, by getting involved at an early stage there is less chance of being handed an unworkable CLP and told to make it happen.
Along with the new CLP guidance document, TfL has produced an interactive training video to help explain the documents and facilitate discussion around them. Feedback from pilot training sessions on the new guidance document has already been positive, not least regarding the need to attract logistics providers into the CLP loop earlier.
While the responsibility for creating the final detailed CLP submission still rests with the developer, Binham’s message to transport providers is: “Work with developers to ensure that they have a system that can be followed and above all else something that can be adhered to.”
The purpose of a CLP
The purpose of a Construction Logistics Plan is to reduce:
- Environmental impact – lowering vehicle emissions and noise-levels from construction traffic
- Road risk – improving the safety of road users, most obviously pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists not only near the construction site but also along those routes leading to and from it
- Congestion – by encouraging fewer vehicle trips, particularly during rush-hours and other peak-traffic times the ‘wins’ are obvious
- Cost – using more efficient working practices to make fewer deliveries, thereby saving money.
Forecasting vehicle movements
Whilst construction hauliers aren’t required to write the CLP―the developer is ultimately responsible for submitting it to the LPA and ensuring it’s followed-through―they should get involved with it at an early stage, especially as they may well have to deliver it ‘on the road’. Within the new CLP guidance document there are a number of clear must-haves including the need to accurately forecast vehicle movements in-and-around the site as precisely as possible, throughout the entire development. And not just for tippers, mixers but also trucks carrying plant and vehicles delivering building materials. Forecasts will have to take account of trucks removing waste-material from the site too, during the initial site set-up and excavation as well as sub-contractors’ vans and other vehicles.
by Brian Weatherley.