As the Black Friday weekend and festive shopping season begins, Transport for London (TfL) is asking businesses and consumers to consider greener options to get their items around London.

Lorries and vans are essential to London’s economy and around half of the value of household expenditure in London relies on freight. In London 90 per cent of all goods are transported by road.

Road freight is a major source of Nitrogen dioxide emissions and these can be worsened during busy delivery periods.

With retailers across the capital offering more options to make deliveries more sustainable, it has never been easier to adopt new ways to help reduce the impact of festive deliveries on London’s air quality and congestion. Options include:

  • Walk, cycle or use public transport to make the journey to and from shops. TfL services will run throughout the festive season (excluding Christmas Day) and off-peak fares in Zones 2-6 start from £1.50
  • When ordering online, try a click and collect facility near home. Shoppers can get their parcels delivered to a local store, click-and-collect centre or use parcel lockers. Click-and-collect options can be found across London and allow for fewer van drop-offs than home delivery
  • Ensure deliveries are arranged for when you are at home or nominate an alternative address for drop off where you know it will be delivered. Failed deliveries can increase the carbon footprint of online orders by up to 75 per cent because of the additional trips that need to be made for re-delivery or collection
  • Choose standard delivery where possible instead of next day delivery as it is easier for companies to plan and group deliveries, helping to minimise the number of trips and reduce road congestion
  • For festive food deliveries from supermarkets, check if they offer green slots outside peak hours or where they are making a delivery nearby
  • Shoppers with smaller parcels could cycle home using Santander Cycles. Santander Cycles is offering a discount of 25 per cent off annual memberships for Black Friday, which people can access by entering the code ‘CYCLEBF21’ online or via the Santander Cycles app
  • Ordering online from businesses that offer zero emission delivery options

TfL has partnered with InPost to install parcel lockers across the capital, primarily situated within TfL’s car parks close to Tube and rail stations. They help to provide the local community and those using public transport with a convenient, cleaner and greener alternative to collect and return parcels as part of their everyday journeys.

TfL Image - InPost Lockers

Alex Williams, TfL’s Director of City Planning said: “We’ve seen an increase in the number of personal deliveries across the capital which is affecting air quality in the capital and the health of many Londoners.

“Black Friday weekend is one of the busiest shopping events of the year and is highly anticipated for London’s shoppers and retailers. We’re encouraging Londoners to choose greener ways of getting their deliveries such as using click and collect or getting to the shops by public transport, helping to reduce the congestion on the capital’s roads and improving air quality.”

Jason Tavaria, CEO at InPost UK added: “InPost is building a network of over 1,000 locker locations in the capital, setting the standard for greener, more environmentally friendly parcel options in the UK’s largest parcel market.

“Our partnership with TfL sits at the heart of this, providing Londoners with more convenient and environmentally friendly ways to send and receive parcels. Together, we are proving just how vital click & collect services are to building a sustainable transport network fit for a greener, post-pandemic future.

“Not only do parcel lockers play a fundamental role in easing the burden on an already-strained logistics network, but will significantly lower emissions, reduce local noise and air pollution, as well as congestion on our roads. We’re proud to be partnered with TfL, helping Londoners directly contribute towards London’s target to become a zero-carbon city by 2030.”

In 2020, TfL launched London FreightLab as part of the Mayor’s Civic Innovation Challenge to collaborate with market innovators to develop new ways of tackling some of the biggest issues caused by freight and servicing in London.

Five companies were chosen to take part in the London FreightLab challenge working alongside leading industry partners. These companies were awarded £20,000 each to develop their solutions, increasing the efficiency, safety, and sustainability of freight in the capital.

TfL is also encouraging shoppers to shop small this winter and is asking London to consider the many small to medium businesses on the TfL retail estate. The estate stretches all across London, in stations, former railway arches and some high streets meaning there are thousands of gift options and new favourites to be found close to home and further afield. Around 93 per cent of TfL’s tenants are small to medium businesses who have struggled through the pandemic but have kept going, providing brilliant local options for those making their festive purchases at this time of year.  As London looks towards 2022 and further helping the capital’s recovery, the varied small businesses that are a vital part of the UK economy are perfectly placed to help get the city back on its feet at the end of challenging year.