From the Times
Internet shoppers could be hit by a compulsory delivery charge as part of a campaign to cut congestion and toxic emissions, The Times has learnt.
The government is considering a range of measures to reduce the damaging impact of the e-commerce boom, which has led to a rise in delivery vans on British roads.
Yes, there’s been a rise in delivery vans, but in case anyone hasn’t noticed, this also means there’s been a decline in cars going into towns on a weekend. We know this because we know that a lot of town centres are dying and that’s because people aren’t using them.
It said that the introduction of free and next-day delivery deals had led to “unnecessary over-ordering”, with some people immediately sending back clothes they no longer wanted free of charge. Mandatory charges may be needed to “encourage more sustainable behaviour”, ministers were told.
This is an overstated problem. You just have to think of how many things you can put in a car or a van, and how little it is the extra journey from 1 house on an estate to 12 houses on an estate. Even if it’s 1 parcel each, well, how many things did anyone ever buy in town at a time? 3? 4? it’s still going to be more efficient. And returns are around 30% of all goods, so even with both, it’s probably better than high street shopping, so why would you want to try and discourage it?
I’m sure there’s circumstances where it definitely works better than people getting things themselves, or otherwise, we could run over a load of calculations, but really, we just don’t need The Men at the DfT doing any of this at all. We’ve calculated a price for a ton of pollution, which is applied for petrol, and some more (and Timmy knows the price) and made Amazon pay it, and this is the choice the market made. We don’t need any fiddling around after that.