Logistics groups have welcomed new Government funding to boost HGV driver facilities. It follows the Department for Transport’s announcement that a further £20 million will be made available to improve security, lighting and showers at roadside services.
The funding is part of National Highways’ existing £169 million Users and Communities Fund and, when added to the £32.5million previously committed in the Chancellor’s budget, takes the total government investment in driver facilities to £52.5million since last year.
Tom Cornwell, RHA lead for Infrastructure and Operator Licencing said while he welcomed the move, more needs to be done to increase parking provision and improve facilities.
“This is encouraging news for our drivers who often tell us about poor facilities on the road but there’s a long way to go. We believe we need an extra 11,000 safe and secure parking spaces and we’re determined to tackle that shortfall by working with government, industry and officials.”
Mags Simpson, Head of Policy Engagement at Logistics UK, said its members report that the lack of available lorry parking and suitable roadside facilities is one of the main barriers to recruitment.
“Lorry drivers are required by law to take regular rest periods, including overnight mandated rest breaks. It is vital that these key workers, who are charged with keeping the nation stocked with everything it needs, have a safe place to take these breaks, where they are also able to make use of much needed bathroom and catering facilities. It is essential that roadside service operators now make use of this additional funding and prioritise their applications.”
Phil Chesworth, Managing Director of pallet truck supplier Midland Pallet Trucks said the funding boost is a positive step forward.
“HGV driver welfare is important for a well-functioning logistics industry. Without them, warehouses across the country will be unable to effectively manage their supply chains and ensure timely delivery of goods.
“It’s no secret that the past few years have been disastrous for the logistics and warehousing industries. Many companies have found it impossible to keep up with the rising demand pressures, and HGV drivers are amongst the people who have been hardest hit.
“These key workers are relied on to supply the country with vital goods and services and have been forced to work in poor conditions as a result of rising demand. This new funding will allow them better facilities to take breaks so that they can continue their work – something that Midland Pallet Trucks wholeheartedly supports.”
Ms Simpson added: “Logistics UK looks forward to working with members and government to ensure the funding is used as effectively as possible, and to highlight further opportunities for improved driver facilities and increased lorry parking.”