The Roads Minister says lorry drivers will benefit from improved and safer rest areas and roadside facilities thanks to up to £100 million investment from industry and Government.
Richard Holden has announced that from today (24 November), truck-stop and road service operators can bid for a share of the £32.5 million match-funding pot from the Government. This is in addition to the £20 million match-funding launched earlier this year from National Highways to improve roadside facilities and security for lorry drivers.
Mr Holden is launching the funding at the Red Lion Truckstop in Northamptonshire which aims to improve security measures for drivers, boost welfare facilities like showers, rest areas and restaurants, and increase HGV parking capacity where possible.
The Government says the move is part of the its 33 actions to address the shortage of HGV drivers and boost recruitment and retention.
“Hauliers and drivers are critical to keep our economy motoring. But for decades, our truckers have had a raw deal when it comes to decent roadside facilities,” said Mr Holden. “This is why I’m so proud that our Government is going to provide match funding support to the industry to boost drivers’ welfare, safeguard road safety and make sure driving an HGV is a really attractive career option by providing the facilities and respect our lorry drivers deserve.”
The funding scheme draws on ‘The National Survey on Lorry Parking: Part One’ which provides important evidence as to what improvements are needed and where to boost the nation’s roadside infrastructure.
The industry is responsible for providing roadside parking and welfare facilities for hauliers, and the Department is committed to help the sector achieve the Government’s long-term objectives of improving driver welfare, boosting drivers’ security, and safeguarding road safety.
The Government says that, with hauliers required to take mandatory breaks and rest periods, building better roadside facilities will improve the quality of HGV drivers’ rest and recovery, ensuring everyone can feel safe on our roads.
It adds the 33 actions to support Britain’s haulage sector include making 11,000 HGV driver training places available through Skills Bootcamps, boosting the number of HGV driver tests, and launching our Future of Freight plan to encourage millions of people to kickstart an exciting career in logistics.
As a result, new HGV drivers are taking and passing their driving test in record numbers. Between March 2022 and May 2022, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) carried out 29,384 HGV tests – 54% more than the corresponding period in 2019 before the pandemic.
“We continue to work closely with operators of roadside facilities to help improve the standard of parking and other amenities they provide on motorways and major A-roads and are excited to see the results of this investment,” added National Highways Customer Experience Director, Pete Martin. “We want all road users to reach their destination safely and encourage everyone, from those who drive as a profession through to people travelling on holiday or for leisure purposes, to plan ahead before setting off and to take regular breaks.”
Director of Policy, Kate Jennings at Logistics UK, commented, “Logistics UK’s members and their employees deserve access to hygiene and rest facilities enjoyed by workers in other parts of the economy, and it is good news that funding is becoming available to help improve the quality and safety of amenities already in place – a swift resolution will now be needed to ensure that the shortfall of lorry parking and necessary facilities can be constructed and opened to support our key workers in the course of their daily travels.”
A spokesperson from SNAP, who run a smart payment system for Drivers and Fleet Operators reacted to the news saying: “Enhancing driver welfare and ensuring that hauliers have somewhere clean and secure to park their vehicles is a leading priority of our business – and the £52.5m Government funding is a vital step in giving drivers the facilities they deserve.
“DfT has SNAP’s ongoing support on their mission to improve driver facilities – with SNAP Access & Security aiming to assist by securing HGV locations through industry-leading security packages.”
(Picture – Yay Images)