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The Department for Transport has launched a call for evidence into last mile deliveries in a bid to understand the scale of opportunity afforded and learn about the current barriers stopping goods from being delivered more sustainably.

The Government said the sector has been transformed thanks to an increase in the number of people buying goods online, but the Department for Transport has voiced concern that the growing number of vans has led to an increase in congestion and poor air quality in towns and cities.

Last-mile delivery

However, it said it believes electric vans, electric bicycles and micro vehicles “can play their part” in reducing pollution in the future.

Respondents are being asked to answer the following questions and the Department for Transport said the responses will help shape future policies:

  • how electrically powered e-vans, micro vehicles and e-cargo bikes can provide better service to customers for cargo in comparison to light commercial vehicles
  • the scale of the potential environmental and other benefits
  • the barriers to sustainable last mile delivery
  • what incentives might be appropriate to encourage a large-scale shift to clean, last-mile delivery options
  • measures to improve logistical efficiency (eg urban consolidation centres / hubs)

“We are on the cusp of an exciting and profound change in how people, goods and services move around the country which is set to be driven by extraordinary innovation,” said transport minister, Jesse Norman. “This could bring significant benefits to people right across the country and presents enormous economic opportunities for the UK, with autonomous vehicles sales set to be worth up to £52 billion by 2035. Our Last Mile call for evidence call for evidence mark just one stage in our push to make the most of these inviting opportunities.”

The call for evidence closes at 11:45pm on 20 September 2018.