A year after roads minister Jesse Norman MP made a commitment to increase the provision of lorry parking places on the strategic road network, FTA is calling on Mr Norman to deliver on this promise after a new survey indicated that drivers believe the situation has actually worsened in the past 12 months.
FTA, the business organisation which represents the interests of more than 17,000 logistics businesses nationwide, supports the work Highways England has undertaken over the past year to identify potential new sites for rest and service areas for commercial drivers, but is urging government to take immediate action to protect the health and wellbeing of the nation’s logistics operators. Despite writing twice to the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government to ask them what they are doing to deliver additional spaces, FTA has received no reply.
“Logistics is the beating heart of the nation’s economy,” says Elizabeth de Jong, Director of UK Policy at FTA, “In an industry where you are compelled by law to take regular breaks and rest, it is vital that government is pressing forward with its stated intention to improve and expand the provision of facilities for those charged with keeping Britain trading. No other industry would be expected to operate in such conditions, and it is now down to government to deliver on its promises.”
Nearly all of the respondents to a survey conducted by FTA of its member organisations felt there had been no improvement in the facilities for drivers on local roads, and over half of them felt that the provision had become worse. More than 70% of respondents felt that the lack of available spaces for parking is the biggest issue facing them during their working day – a shortage which often causes friction with local residents and businesses when drivers are forced to stop away from secure parking areas.
“No logistics operator wants to be parking on industrial estates, in laybys or on public roads,” continues Ms de Jong, “but often this is the only option as a result of no available alternative parking. London and the South East were the two areas identified as having the biggest shortfall in spaces, but the problem is prevalent nationwide. We want government to deliver its promises to professional drivers to provide the sort of safe, secure and appropriate rest areas which the industry needs so that we can continue to deliver what the nation needs, as and when necessary. A year on from Mr Norman’s commitment, it is now time for action – the nation’s HGV drivers deserve a break.”
The Department for Transport’s own National Survey of Lorry Parking identified that there is an immediate need for more than 1,411 parking spaces across the country, to enable drivers to take their legally mandated rest breaks without concerns for security and safety. In the South East, 37% more overnight parking spaces are required immediately to cover the requirements of Britain’s burgeoning logistics sector.
“We are a trading nation,” says Ms De Jong, “and much of our trade moves by road. Yet enforcement action continues to be taken against those who cannot find a place to stop in a designated lorry park, through no fault of their own. It is time that government delivered on its commitment for more parking spaces, to ensure that the sector can continue to fulfil the nation’s need for goods and services in a timely, efficient and healthy manner, without penalty for the hardworking drivers behind the wheel.”
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.