It's the result of a successful campaign by the Freight Transport Association (FTA) and others to get kerbside loading and unloading times stretched from 20 to 40 minutes between 11.00am and 6.30pm. Businesses were repeatedly getting tickets for straying over the 20 minute barrier because it was proving impossible to complete collections and deliveries in the limited time available.

Westminster City Council reports that 48 per cent fewer tickets have been issued for that infringement over a three month period, equating to a £1m-plus saving for harassed van and truck owners. If the pattern is the same in the other London boroughs then the saving is likely to total almost £5m across the capital.

There's only one problem; some boroughs have decided to scrap the provision that allowed operators to take as long as necessary to load and unload before 11.00am. “That's a move we'll continue to lobby against,” says FTA head of policy for London, Gordon Telling.