The package of support announced for HGV drivers by the Department for Transport today are useful measures that will help ensure that Britain’s logistics industry can continue to supply Britain’s businesses with the goods and services they need, according to the Freight Transport Association (FTA).
FTA, which represents more than 17,000 logistics businesses nationwide, has campaigned for years for sufficient rest facilities for lorry drivers across the UK, and a better plan to cope with cross-Channel disruption:
“The proposed temporary solution for Operation Stack on the M20 (closing one carriageway and expanding the other) is a good compromise for operators concerned about managing queues safely at the Channel ports in the event of cross-Channel disruption, until a permanent lorry parking area can be built,” says Christopher Snelling, FTA’s Head of UK Policy. “It is vital both for the logistics industry, and for Kent as a whole, that traffic can continue to flow freely throughout the county, and the proposed solution could provide that for now.
“FTA’s members will be keen to see that the plan has been carefully thought through, to ensure the safety of the drivers using Stack and of others on these roads at those times, and we look forward to working with government to ensure that appropriate facilities are provided for those needing to wait on the motorway. Our lorry drivers fulfil a vital role in serving the country’s manufacturing and business needs, and it is imperative that anywhere used for Operation Stack provides them with at least toilets and water supplies.”
On the subject of driver facilities across the UK, FTA welcomes the level of attention the Government is now giving the issue. It agrees Highways England could do more to help ensure these facilities exist across the Strategic Road Network, but believes local authorities also have a key role to play in encouraging and supporting applications to build and operate new facilities in the face of this pressing national need.
“Again, it is a positive step that the government is acknowledging the scale of the problem facing lorry drivers seeking appropriate places to take their legally mandated rests. It is a travesty that the UK currently doesn’t provide enough spaces for its hardworking drivers to stop in, and the paucity of facilities which drivers can use creates an unnecessary and unavoidable blight on local communities where some drivers are forced to stop because they are out of any other option.
“These policies won’t solve the problem overnight but we see today’s announcements as a good step in the right direction and now want to work with Government to ensure we develop the facilities that our lorry drivers need.”
Efficient logistics is vital to keep Britain trading, directly having an impact on more than seven million people employed in the making, selling and moving of goods. With Brexit, new technology and other disruptive forces driving change in the way goods move across borders and through the supply chain, logistics has never been more important to UK PLC. A champion and challenger, FTA speaks to government with one voice on behalf of the whole sector, with members from the road, rail, sea and air industries, as well as the buyers of freight services such as retailers and manufacturers.