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A more eco-friendly home delivery service

Our Head of Commercial Development, Alex McHardy looks at how walking and YEEP!’s out-of-home locker service is helping provide a solution to increases in home deliveries.

If your household is anything like mine then the working week is increasingly punctuated by the doorbell announcing the arrival of another online delivery. With increased working from home since the pandemic, our towns and cities have seen a huge increase in online deliveries.

By 2030 London alone will deliver a billion consumer parcels – that’s doubling in less than a decade. Whilst vehicle kilometres in the capital have reduced over the last 20 years for both cars and HGVs, vans have sharply increased; and the Mayor’s Transport Strategy sets out targets and commitments to reduce vans in the morning peak, and to utilise technology to take pressure off roads and improve efficiency of ‘last mile’ deliveries.  

Four people are stood in front of a YEEP locker, which is situated in a car park
A person is using a YEEP locker

But did you know that walking is positioned at the centre of our response to this?

This is due to an innovative new concept that is coming to a street near you - the out-of-home locker. Rather than getting packages delivered by a van, consumers will be encouraged to walk 200m to pick it up from a secure locker at convenience; activated by the barcode linked to a purchase. This is an accepted practice across Europe compared to the UK; with the locker collection market already five times bigger in France and eight times bigger in Poland. And the benefits to the planet are clear – a study by Green Last Mile showed the enormous potential for parcel lockers to decarbonise a key element of consumer logistics. 

Living Streets is pleased to be partnering with YEEP! who are leading the charge in the UK; with pilots launching this summer in four London boroughs and ambitions to have hundreds of lockers across London by 2024 plus rolling out to the UK thereafter. Last week I visited the Chelsea Harbour Sustainable Deliveries Hub where YEEP! lockers have just been installed alongside dedicated cargo bike bays.

This is part of a fantastic Cross River Partnership programme called Clean Air Logistics for London which aims to move freight into London via sustainable alternatives; and what struck me on my visit was the multi-modal approach; with everyday walking in the mix alongside river freight, cargo bikes, EV vans, and even a walking courier. 

Cut the Clutter

Whilst it is generally agreed that reducing van delivery mileage on our roads will reduce congestion and improve air quality, we will need to be mindful of a number of things as the locker revolution gathers momentum. The lockers themselves will need to be located in places that do not clutter the street environment or present barriers for pedestrians (YEEP! Lockers are designed to be lightweight and easy to install).

Also, lockers will need to be located in well-lit, safe and visible spots; and overall the concept relies on the street environment being attractive and accessible so that people from all walks of life can benefit from everyday journeys – in this case, to collect deliveries. The major delivery companies will have a responsibility to ensure that locker access and the commercial model that will sit behind it does not exclude or penalise certain groups.

Through our partnership with YEEP!, Living Streets will have an opportunity to provide a voice for pedestrians as the out-of-home locker delivery model takes off here in the UK. If it can help to get the nation out of our front doors, there could be huge benefits.

About the author

Alex McHardy

Head of Commercial Development, Living Streets

[email protected]