The Freight Transport Association (FTA), one of the UK’s biggest business groups, is urging government to follow through on its promise made two years ago today to provide safe parking spaces for those charged with keeping goods moving throughout the pandemic and beyond: HGV drivers. Two years after the government pledge, FTA’s members report provision has not improved, and many are forced to take their rest breaks in unsafe locations with inadequate welfare, hygiene and sanitation facilities.
Chris Yarsley, Policy Manager for Road Infrastructure at FTA, comments: “The COVID-19 outbreak has brought home how vital lorry drivers are to society and the economy; they are working tirelessly, and bravely, to provide the goods the nation needs to get through the pandemic. Yet the government fails to provide them with even the most basic provision: secure, safe places to park during their rest periods with access to adequate welfare, hygiene and sanitation facilities. No other industry would be expected to operate in such conditions; the government has no excuse not to deliver on its promises.”
The Department for Transport’s 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 alone, 37% more overnight parking spaces are required to meet basic demand.
Mr Yarsley continues: “This shortfall of parking spaces is forcing drivers to take their rest periods in unsafe, undesirable locations, such as industrial estates, in laybys or on public roads. In an industry where you are compelled by law to take regular breaks and rest, adequate provision to do so must be provided. Two years on from the commitment made by ex-Road Minister, Jesse Norman MP, we need action – the nation’s HGV drivers deserve so much more.”
FTA is one of the UK’s leading business groups, representing logistics businesses which are vital to keeping the UK trading, and more than seven million people directly employed in the making, selling and moving of goods. With COVID-19, 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. FTA supports, shapes and stands up for safe and efficient logistics, and is the only business group which represents the whole industry, with members from the road, rail, sea and air industries, as well as the buyers of freight services such as retailers and manufacturers whose businesses depend on the efficient movement of goods. For more information about the organisation and its work, including its ground-breaking research into the impacts of COVID-19 on the whole supply chain, please visit www.fta.co.uk.