LCC leads campaigning that saves police lorry safety unit

Sharing the road with lorries is not easy. Credit: Charlie Lloyd

photo Sharing the road with lorries is not always easy, but it should be a bit safer after LCC campaigning

Persistent campaigning, led by LCC, has saved the only police unit in the UK capable of reducing the danger to cyclists from HGV lorries. 

The Metropolitan Police have found funding to re-establish the Commercial Vehicle Education Unit (CVEU) as the Commercial Vehicle Unit (CVU). Officers in the new unit will retain powers to ensure safer operation of lorry companies in London.

To replace the Mayor's funding, axed last year, the police have had to move out of one of the operating bases in central London.  

This victory was supported with great efforts by the friends and families of those killed by lorries in 2009.

Jenny Jones, the Green Party assembly member,  led the campaign, questioning the Mayor about the cuts.  There were questions in Parliament and a petition to the Prime Minister,  MP Diane Abbot set down an Early Day Motion after one of her constituents was killed in September 2009.

LCC published a widely read article in its London Cyclist magazine, written by HGV campaigner Charlie Lloyd (download the article on the right).

Even transport industry associations and drivers' groups supported the police, recognising the dangers caused by irresponsible lorry operators.

Much more remains to be done to improve standards and further reduce the danger of large vehicles in London.

There is a new Early Day Motion in parliament that calls for compulsory training for drivers and safety sensors on lorries.

Ask your MP to support EDM 600 put forward by the chair of the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group.

Contact your local MP

The new police unit will no longer work for Transport for London's Freight Operators Recognition Scheme (FORS) checking accreditation of transport companies wanting to join the scheme.

TfL will have to find its own people for that role. The new CVU, however, will be more secure within the force, and could potentially be an example for other urban police forces in the UK, and should be able to attract more funding in the future.

LCC cycling development officer Charlie Lloyd said, "Failure to manage work-related road danger is the biggest cause of industrial death and injury in the UK.

"It's absurd there are only a handful of police in London with the skills and authority to enforce health and safety regulations."