Builders merchant organisation the Builders Merchants Federation
held a Supplier Liasion meeting in which it looked at the impact the London Olympic and Paralympic Games will have on building materials' distribution.
Natalie Chapman of the Freight Transport Association ran through the arrangements that the London 2012 Organising Committee (LOCOG) and Transport for London (TfL) are putting in place now to help businesses during July, August & September.
Chapman outlined the extent of the Olympic and Paralympic Route Networks that competitors, officials and dignitaries will use. They are the roads in Greater London that link competition venues with locations like Heathrow Airport and hotels & embassies in the West End. Traffic and travel within the M25 will be substantially busier, she said, as approx 55,000 extra people are expected to be on the move in Greater London each day.
She corrected common myths about the Olympic Route Network (ORN) and Paralympic Route Network (PRN), saying that no road closures are planned. The majority of roads will remain open to general traffic - though variations will apply between 6 am and midnight.
BMF merchants and suppliers were reminded the Games will not take place in isolation. The Queen's Diamond Jubilee, Notting Hill Carnival and BBC Proms will also be going on. Outside the capital, the Olympic Flame will be carried around Britain in the 70-day Torch Relay that starts in May. Many sports also have training venues away from London with their own traffic & security considerations.
Other points Chapman covered were:
sat nav systems: drivers without the latest updates risk being caught up in congestion
London Boroughs are being lobbied to use a 'light touch' to enforce lorry control measures
normal operating restrictions on deliveries during the Games will not be relaxed - the Congestion Charge and the Low Emission Zone will remain in force.
A complete ban on all non-emergency roadworks will be in force several weeks before the Games start. Highway contractors are striving to complete current projects before the suspension begins.
The BMF message to its members is to plan and prepare properly - and consider factors such as:
fewer drop-offs than usual on delivery routes, journeys taking longer and drivers' hours
fulfilling orders from different branches to avoid the hassle of using or crossing the ORN or PRN
talking to suppliers & customers about stockpiling, reducing the size, number & frequency of deliveries, and arranging to receive or make deliveries at different times (especially at night).