The London Lorry Control Scheme controls the movement of heavy goods vehicles over 18 tonnes maximum gross weight at night and at weekends. The scheme is in place to help minimise noise pollution in residential areas during unsocial hours through restricted use of these roads.
Excluded and Restricted Roads
Not all roads in London are restricted by the scheme – there is a core network of routes, usually trunk roads and similar, along which HGVs can travel at any time without needing permission to do so. These roads are known as "excluded roads", and are collectively called the Excluded Route Network, or ERN. The roads on which the Scheme applies are known as "restricted roads".
An interactive map of the London Lorry Control Scheme area is available on the PIE website.
Times of Restriction
- Monday - Friday: 9pm - 7am (including 9pm Friday night to 7am Saturday morning).
- Saturday: 1pm - 7am Monday morning.
- Normal restrictions apply during public and bank holidays
If you need to drive any vehicle over 18 tonnes on any of the restricted roads during the controlled hours then you need to apply for permission for the vehicle. It’s free to apply to for permission, and it only takes five minutes. Simply click on ‘join the scheme’ (above right) to get started. Read about the permission conditions.
Journeys within the Scheme area
Permission to use restricted roads does not mean that you can use as much of them as you like. If part of a journey needs to be made on restricted roads then use of these roads must be kept to a minimum. In general, this will mean travelling to the closest point on the ERN then using the shortest direct route to the destination.
Similarly, if the starting point of a route is on a restricted road then the shortest route must be taken from there to the ERN. This is a requirement of the scheme even if it means that the total journey length will be longer. Officers of the London Lorry Control Scheme will try to help with routeing enquiries however responsibility for using a legally compliant and negotiable route lies with the operator and the driver.
If you use a vehicle on a restricted road without permission, or if you have permission but fail to use the minimum amount of restricted roads, then you may be issued with a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN).
Please see the following links for details of the London Lorry Control Scheme:
- Traffic Management Order
- The Policy Statement on Permissions
- The Permission Conditions
- Lorry control scheme income expenditure
History of the scheme
The Greater London (Restriction of Goods Vehicles) Traffic Order (See the Traffic Management Order) applies in all 32 London boroughs and the City of London and includes many TfL roads. It allows for the control of heavy goods vehicle movement at night and at week-ends: 9pm to 7am every night, Monday evening to Saturday morning. Then from 1pm Saturday, through the whole of Sunday, to 7am again on Monday. These are the prescribed hours. Currently, 29 of the boroughs allow London Councils to enforce on their roads.
The Traffic Order is designed to ensure that goods vehicles above 18 tonnes cannot use the restricted roads controlled by the Order, during the prescribed hours, without permission. However, it specifies a network of roads (usually main roads and access roads to industrial estates) that are excluded from the Order. This network is commonly referred to as the Excluded Route Network (ERN). During the prescribed hours, to be compliant, goods vehicles with permission must travel along the ERN to the closest point to their destination then travel the shortest possible distance along non-ERN roads. Hauliers without permission cannot use non-ERN roads at all.
Decriminalised enforcement started in April 2004. From that point on the haulier and the driver no longer faced criminal prosecution, as under the civil regime they now receive Penalty Charge Notices (PCN).
The penalty charge is currently £550 for hauliers and £130 for drivers. These charges are reduced by 50% if paid within 14 days.
As with a parking penalty charge the recipient can make a representation and thereby challenge it. Should the initial representation be rejected they can then appeal their case to the adjudicators at London Tribunals.
The permit system did not change with the introduction of civil enforcement. Hauliers whose vehicles are over 18 tonnes and want to travel off the ERN must have permission to do so. In January 2010 London Councils stopped issuing physical permits and simply grant permission by letter. Hauliers can apply to London Councils for permission but it will only be granted if it is actually needed: vehicles that can make the complete London element of the journey on the ERN, or are less than 18 tonnes, are advised that permission is not required.
The London Lorry Control Scheme is often, mistakenly, referred to as the Lorry Ban. It is no such thing as any vehicle can make a journey that is compliant with the Traffic Order and the scheme serves to manage the environmental impact of those journeys. Hauliers may feel they encounter a ban because of the loading and unloading restrictions imposed by a local council at the journey destination as a condition of planning permission. These can be quite stringent at night and in the early morning. London Councils has no influence over how and where these, often location specific, regulations are implemented.