Unite union has criticised the state of facilities for lorry drivers across the UK – highlighting a particular concern for those passing through Kent.

In a statement released today, the union called for a statutory, legally-binding code of practice so drivers have adequate parking and eating facilities, decent showers and toilets.

Commenting on transport minister John Hayes’ written statement to MPs on road freight, the union said there was “too much talk and not enough action.”

Unite national officer for road transport Adrian Jones said: “The road haulage industry contributes billions of pounds a year to the British economy, but the drivers who contribute to this wealth often have to park up in isolated lay-bys and unappealing industrial estates for the night.

“Too many haulage bosses are quite happy for their drivers to leave the depot and as long as they deliver the load and return on time, they are not overly concerned about how they sleep, eat and shower. We know that this is a particular issue for Kent county council.

“The ideal would be ‘specialist lorry parks’ for lorry drivers – safe, secure and clean with the modern facilities you would expect from the world’s sixth largest economy.

“At present, the picture is very mixed. Some privately-owned lorry parks are very good and others leave a lot to be desired.

“Unite is pleased that the government has at long last recognised the important role road transport workers play in the economy. However, the minister’s statement falls short of what we believe is needed to make a real change to thousands of workers whose workplaces are the roads across the country.

“Unite believes that urgent action needs to be taken to oblige developers to include parking facilities for drivers in their plans as well as a national minimum standard for parking facilities – underpinned by a statutory code of practice – that both public and privately-owned facilities should adhere to.”

In October, Kent Police found more than 2,700 lorries caught illegally parked around the county in less than a year.

Problem areas include the A2 near Cobham and Canterbury, the M2 Farthing Corner, the M20 at junctions eight, 11 and 13 and the A20 at Capel-le-Ferne, with officers visiting these areas on their regular patrols.

Last week, the Prime Minister vowed to find a solution to the widespread problem of illegally parked lorries in Kent after the issue was raised by Faversham and Mid Kent MP Helen Whately at Prime Minister’s Questions.

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