The government has pledged to review the rules on night-time deliveries following several successful ‘quiet delivery’ pilots.

In the Autumn Statement, the government said it would ask the Noise Abatement Society (NAS) and the Freight Transport Association (FTA) to further develop recent trials into a toolkit for quiet night-time deliveries, which could provide the basis for new guidance for logistics companies and retailers.

Such a move would be particularly beneficial to bakeries, because bread is a time-sensitive product that needs to be delivered as freshly as possible. 

There is currently a range of restrictions on night deliveries across the UK, varying from area to area, which are designed to reduce the noise disruption. Under the current London Lorry Control Scheme, HGVs require a permit to enter the capital on weekdays between 9pm and 7am, and 1pm to 7am at weekends.

British Retail Consortium director general Stephen Robertson said: "This review is a welcome response to our calls for greater flexibility on deliveries. Retailers literally drive for efficiency, but too often, outdated bans stop them delivering at night. That adds to costs and actually forces them to add to the congestion they want to avoid. Many of these restrictions have been in place for years and fail to take account of advances in technology that make vehicles and the unloading process much quieter.

The Quiet Delivery Demonstration Scheme was developed by the NAS and the FTA in conjunction with the Department for Transport. Six trials took place at retail outlets across England in 2010, with measures in place such as a ban on slamming doors and installing rubber matting to reduce the noise of roll cages.