LONDON, Feb.28 (Xinhua) -- Canals which were once the backbone of Britain's transportation could be used in the fight against air pollution in London, the London Assembly's transport committee said in a letter on Thursday.
The elected London Assembly wants the capital's mayor Sadiq Khan to see more freight moved around London by canal, river and rail. Currently around 90 percent of freight in London is moved by road.
The assembly's transport committee published a letter to Khan, calling for new measures to ensure safe, clean and efficient freight in the British capital.
The committee said the huge volume of freight traffic in London contributes to congestion, poor air quality and impacts safety on London's roads, adding that moving freight around efficiently is vital to London's economy.
In recommendations to Transport for London (TfL) the committee wants to see it using river, rail or canals to move building materials for major projects. It also calls on Khan to reinstating a dedicated freight team, led by a senior TfL officer.
Caroline Pidgeon, chair of the Transport Committee said: "The efficient movement of freight around London is an important part of London's economy. However, there is a fine balance between economic benefits and environmental impacts.
"Many deliveries, particularly last mile, contribute to congestion on the capital's roads. It's important that other modes of transport to move freight across the capital are used far more such as the river or rail. The Committee has made a number of recommendations for TfL to consider for their forthcoming Freight and Servicing Action Plan."
Another proposal is for delivery times in London to be timed to avoid too many goods vehicles using London roads at peak periods.
Britain's canal network emerged in the 1700s as a way of moving goods around the country in the days before railways or major road building.
Now the hundreds of kilometers of canals spread across Britain are used almost exclusively by pleasure boats.
Next year marks the 200th anniversary of the completion of London's 13.8 kilometer long Regents Canal.
The canal is now used for pleasure cruising with a regular waterbus service during summer months between Maida Vale and Camden. The canal's towpath has also become a busy cycle route for commuters.