HGV drivers will benefit from £20 million to improve roadside facilities, as part of continued Government action with industry to boost driver welfare and tackle the effects of the global driver shortage in the UK.
The funding is part of National Highways’ existing £169m Users and Communities Fund, and will go specifically towards improving security, showers and eating facilities as well as exploring increasing parking spaces for lorry drivers. Roadside service operators are being encouraged to apply for the multi-million-pound fund immediately.
It means the Government has now taken 33 actions to support the sector and address a shortage of HGV drivers affecting countries around the world.
The funding takes the total Government investment in driver facilities to £52.5 million since last year. £32.5 million was previously committed in the Chancellor’s budget to provide better facilities right across the country for HGV drivers, to drive up standards and further safeguard driver comfort and safety.
Roads Minister Baroness Vere said:
“HGV drivers play a key role in keeping our nation running and contributing to the economy, and it is vital they feel safe and comfortable wherever they stop. That’s why we’re allocating a further £20 million to ramp up security and improve amenities for drivers – building on the raft of measures we’ve already taken to support the industry. We’ll continue to work closely with the sector to boost professional driver numbers even further.”
Nick Harris, National Highways Chief Executive, said:-
“We want all road users to reach their destination safely and encourage everyone, from those who drive as a profession through to people traveling on holiday or for leisure purposes, to plan ahead before setting off and to take regular breaks. We are dedicated to improving the experience of everyone using our roads and remain committed to working closely with operators of roadside facilities to help improve the standard of parking and other amenities they provide on motorways and major A-roads. We are hopeful that the £20 million being announced today will go some way towards achieving this goal.”
The HTA are currently pushing for this funding to also pay for protected abnormal loads signage.
The HTA does not agree with the government’s decision to relax drivers’ hours rules in direct response to the dire vocational driver shortage situation the industry is currently experiencing. It solely puts more pressure on drivers who are already working incredibly hard, long hours and is open to abuse by unscrupulous operators.
Our Chairman Marcus Gough says, “its thoroughly disappointing to learn of this action by government, which neither addresses the shortage or takes in consideration for the safety of the driver and the public, especially given the short period of the relaxation, I urge government officials to engage with the association to find workable initiatives that will assist our members to work through the current challenges”.
The HTA have received the following communication from DVSA:-
Transport Office Portal (TOP) update: repair affecting OCRS customer reports.
OCRS customer reports are currently unavailable due to a technical issue with the Transport Office Portal.
We are committed to keeping you informed. Unfortunately, the repairs will take longer than expected due to technical requirements and the reports may not be available until the end of June.
The delay will also allow us to improve the system so that any future developments are quicker to put in place.
You can still access the following TOP services:
Our enforcement work continues as our teams are able to use additional targeting information, such as encounter history.
We are sorry for any inconvenience and will continue to keep you informed.
HTA Secretary and MD of Dynes Solicitors Ltd, John Dyne provides an update on the situation concerning roaming permits for UK abnormal load operators operating in France:-
(text transcript below)
The situation as we now understand it is this. Since 1st January 2021 abnormal load operators in France have been unable to take advantage of the roaming permit system. This is a system that they had hitherto been using and had paid for; many of them having permits for up to 3 years and now suddenly finding that those permits are no longer valid. We say this is discriminatory.
We understand that the DfT has asked to reconsider that position. We understand that there is some room for optimism according to the DfT we should know later on this week. The HTA has announced that it will be asking all its members to lobby their local MPs to bring pressure to bear on the UK Government. It is imperative that this situation sorted out as soon as possible. It has also emerged that Article 3 of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement between the European Union and the United Kingdom makes it quite clear that for abnormal load operations; permits that need to be issued should be issued without discrimination. Clearly what's been going on is discrimination and it has repercussions for UK abnormal load operators. Given the contents of Article 3 which seem clear on their face value. There is some hope for optimism this matter will be resolved. Obviously as soon as we hear more we will let you know.
When the Brexit deal between the UK and the European Union (EU) was finally agreed and passed into law on the 30th December 2020, it seems there were a number of major oversights which are seriously impacting UK abnormal load operators that are operating in France.
As of the 1st January 2021, the French Roaming Permit System was made unavailable for UK operators due to Brexit, but still remains available to EU and Swiss operators, despite Switzerland not being a part of the EU.
In the video below, John Dyne, the Managing Director of Dyne Solicitors Ltd. and Secretariat to the Heavy Transport Association, explains the possible alternative approach that these operators may have to take, and how this approach could cause serious delays for their customers and even result in a loss of custom.
UK Abnormal Load Operators no longer have access to the French Roaming Permit System
Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) periodic training is to be monitored by DVSA to ensure drivers are not unnecessarily repeating training as part of the 35-hour requirement.
This follows a review of Driver CPC training and recommendations made by the European Commission which the Government has adopted.
DVSA will monitor drivers records to identify periodic training that doesn’t support their professional driver development because of unnecessary repetition.
If DVSA identify unnecessary repetition we may take action which could include revoking a driver's Driver Qualification Card (DQC).
To make sure drivers continue to develop professionally and keep Great Britain’s roads safe they should take training which benefits them and their job. This will ensure they increase their knowledge of what it takes to continue to drive safely instead of repeating the same training session.
DVSA will only allow repetition of training when it supports a driver’s development. For example, if more than one day’s training is required to maintain a qualification such as driving dangerous goods.
DVSA will be working with training bodies to ensure they are not delivering a specific training session to the same driver more than once unless it is necessary for their professional development.
Marcus Gough, said: “I am delighted, and it is a huge honour to be elected for this term and to try and provide stability in these uncertain times.
"Both I and the committee encourage everyone to get involved, engage with the new look website, share, and feedback your ideas, and the vast array of heavy, abnormal loads moved and escorted.”
“As Chair, I want to continue to drive the excellent work the HTA has already done in this area. With many key projects in progress at present, engaging with stakeholders up to government departments, with a focus on improving safety and standards within our industry, more of which can be explored on this site – check out our news page”
First appointed on 15th December, replacing David Purslow this will be Gough’s first term, having over 35 years’ experience, in haulage and heavy cranes operations, covering all roles from driver to operator. Marcus also currently serves on the RHA Abnormal Loads Specialist Group committee and is well placed to represent the views of the Association. His day job is Head of Transport for Ainscough Crane Hire Ltd.
The Heavy Transport Association has initiated the first in a new programme of projects that will look at various aspects of the movement of abnormal indivisible loads, analysing good practice from the UK and elsewhere in the world to ensure that movement of these loads is performed as safely and efficiently as possible.
The first project in the programme is SAbLE – Safer Abnormal Load Escorting, the aim of which is “To improve the safety and operational efficiency of Abnormal Load movements through appropriate escorting practices.”
The SABLE project aims to bring together a full range of stakeholders including: abnormal load hauliers, route surveyors, permit agents, consultants, abnormal load escorts, infrastructure owners /managers, equipment manufacturers and the police.
The project, led by international road safety consultancy The Transafe Network*, will examine current practices in the risk assessment and escorting of abnormal loads, and identify future practices which have the potential to enhance the safety and efficiency of these movements. This will include practices to improve safety for all road users, and the most efficient use of the road network.
For more information on SABLE, to receive updates on the project, or to express an interest in being part of the SABLE Working Party, please email: HTAprojects@transafenetwork.com.
Notes for Editors: *The Transafe Network is a specialist road safety consultancy with experience of working in more than 40 countries on six continents. They supply a wide range of road risk management services to organisations as diverse as blue-chip corporations with fleet operations, research foundations, the legal profession, police forces and local authorities.
For more information please visit: https://www.transafenetwork.com/
The Heavy Transport Association (HTA), the only specialist trade association for the heavy and abnormal load industry, officially launch two City & Guilds Assured Abnormal Load Escort Training Programmes.
Developed and improved from their previous Escort Training courses, the Abnormal Load Escort Driver Stage 2 and the Abnormal Load Escort Manager Stage 3 Programmes, champion safety standards for the benefit of the industry and HTA members.
Available across selected HTA Approved regional training centres, both training Programmes are tailored to Escort and Pilot Car drivers across the heavy transport and mobile crane sector to prove competency, reduce risk, improve public safety and promote industry excellence.
These Programmes are designed to test and satisfy the requirements of Operational staff, to be competent and safe in their role. This is achieved via theory based classroom learning, followed by observation of practical activities leading to a final assessment resulting in a City & Guilds credential issued upon successful completion.
Split across two Programmes, candidates are expected to undertake the Stage 2 Driver Programme before progressing to the higher Stage 3 Managers Programme.
Those undertaking the Stage 2 Driver Training Programme on completion will:-
On successful completion of the HTA Abnormal Loads Escort Driver Stage 2 Programme, individuals may progress to the higher Stage 3 module. Following the same learning format, the HTA Abnormal Load Escort Manager Training Programme will not only encompass topics covered in Stage 2, but will provide individuals with a deeper understanding of these disciplines.
In addition to this understanding, individuals progressing onto the Stage 3 Managers Programme will:-
With the implementation of these two improved Training Programmes throughout the regional network of HTA Approved Training Centres, the Heavy Transport Association aims to greatly increase safety standards across the industry, reducing risks and improving the competency of Operators and Drivers alike. The addition of the Assured recognition guarantees these Training Programmes are benchmarked against the City & Guilds quality standards, providing the confidence and reassurance of highly accredited professional development.
The HTA received an email on the 27 February 2019 which gave notification of a blanket movement embargo imposed by Greater Manchester Police (GMP) on all abnormal loads during peak periods. The embargo is for all categories of abnormal loads yet mobile cranes up to and including 5 axle which could weigh 60 ton gross ‘dry’ weight and with ballast likely to weigh 80 tons are excluded. STGO CAT1s are embargoed even though they weigh significantly less than mobile cranes.
Also, on a motorway the lane limit is 3m so a CAT 1 is not taking up any additional space. The HTA sent a letter to GMP on the 2 May explaining that CAT 1 AILs are being stopped for no apparent reason and asked for a revision of the blanket ban. We received acknowledgement of the letter by way of return on the 14 May and now await a full response.
The Heavy Transport Association,The White House, High Street,Tattenhall, Chester, Cheshire CH3 9PX
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