Government-backed research report says industry must improve logistics or keep paying full congestion charge.
Research conducted by BRE into the construction industry's use of transportation may give industry lobby groups an opportunity to bolster their case for an exemption from the London congestion charge.

Helen Sargant, senior consultant with BRE, said the research project would allow contractors to demonstrate that they were improving logistics.

It is particularly important that the case be presented as soon as possible, as the charge looks likely to be extended to urban areas beyond the capital in the near future.

Sargant said that contractors would be in a better position to argue that they deserved an exemption from congestion charging if they could show they had done all they could to lessen their impact on the road network.

The research is expected to conclude that 20% of transport movements in the UK relates to construction and that transport can account for 20% of the cost of a construction project.

The BRE is analysing transport data from different stages of construction projects and has identified seven indicators that affect construction transport efficiency.

These are: transport movements, distance, emissions of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and other exhaust gases, reliability, travelling time, considerate transport policies and costs.

The BRE is set to present its findings in two weeks. It will also provide a confidential report to the DTI.

An early draft of the report, which has been seen by Building, points out that the financial impact of transport is growing. As well as the advent of congestion charging, a levy on road hauliers is in the offing.

The report added that improvements in transport associated with a construction project would benefit clients and contractors through lower congestion levels, fewer accidents and a more productive workforce.