HGVs and safety (Supplementary) [1]

Session date: 
October 14, 2009
Question By: 
Jenny Jones
City Hall Greens
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


But this is actually a specialist unit. I do not know if you have visited or seen any of the work. The fact is all the police officers in that unit - they are all police officers first of all - they are all HGV drivers, they are all qualified transport managers and, also, they have got health and safety delegated powers. Now they are very unusual because they can actually stop a lorry, assess the problems with it and then force the company to fix it. If you get rid of them you actually get rid of a very important component. Since 2005 they have made over 3,000 roadside checks and 70% of the time they find that there is a fault with a lorry. Now if --

Supplementary To: 


Answer for HGVs and safety (Supplementary) [1]

Answer for HGVs and safety (Supplementary) [1]

Answered By: 
The Mayor

How many? 3,000 checks since 2005?

Jenny Jones (AM): Yes.

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): Does not sound like very many.

Jenny Jones (AM): Well that is not all that they do. They do stacks of other stuff as well. The number to register, to take notice of, is the fact that 70% of those checks find that there is a fault with the lorries. I would just ask you to review the decision because I think if you take this unit away then you are actually losing a very important component of keeping cyclists safe. You know as well as I do that eight cyclists died this year, most of them women, and all from lorries turning left or from lorries not seeing them.

If we take away this unit, that is an education unit as well - it works with companies - we could see more cycling deaths on the roads. Neither of us wants that and I think perhaps the advice you have had that it is possible to get rid of this unit and not have any change in the cycling deaths is completely wrong.

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): I am determined that we should educate HGV drivers about the threats that they post to cyclists. That is why we are issuing --

Jenny Jones (AM): But how will you do it without this unit?

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): -- 14,000 Fresnel lenses. There is a massive amount of work going on generally, through TfL, to do so. We are confident that the Freight Operators Recognition Scheme will carry out --

Jenny Jones (AM): Is that a voluntary scheme?

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): -- the educational and administrative functions previously carried out by the police.

Jenny Jones (AM): But you are dropping a specialist group of people that have knowledge that you cannot find in the same place anywhere else. I think it is a disastrous move just to save some money. Could I send you the information I have got and will you actually read the information and then, if you think it is good information, would you reconsider your decision?

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): You certainly can and I but we are doing a huge amount with freight operators generally. We have sent a DVD to them about how to be safe and how to avoid cyclists and we are putting more posters up warning cyclists about the dangers of being caught on the inside of an HGV. As I said, we have issued 15,000 Fresnel lenses to be fitted to HGVs and there is a massive education campaign under way. The issue is whether it is most effectively done by that particular unit.

Darren Johnson (Chair): Jenny, you are now out of time.

Jenny Jones (AM): But you need enforcement. Enforcement.