A recent survey was conducted by the Department of Transport recently which looked at truck parking facilities in 2022. Obviously, the information contained within this report is highly interesting, but one fact stood out among the rest. The quality and quantity of HGV parks and parking facilities across England is not up to scratch in many ways.
Quantity and Quality Suffer
When it comes to the overall quantity of HGV parks in England, this was found to be way up. The utilisation of these parks is at 83%, which is flagged by the DFT as being “serious”. If the utilisation rate increases to 85%, the situation becomes “critical”.
Furthermore, a significant problem which was reported during the investigations was the lack of facilities available to drivers at these truck parks. Another big problem highlighted was security.
The report uses a grading system to explain the issues faced within the facilities. The system is broken up from 0-6. Most HGV parks in England are rated 2 or below - meaning at most they have toilets and a cafe with minimal security.
There are no showers, accommodation, security fences or CCTV systems. There is no protection for the contents of HGVs and trucks.
There are some areas which got better results. Yorkshire, the North West and the West Midlands all had parks which scored higher, averaging between 4 and 5 on the scale.
This score meant that they had many more facilities and security measures. They weren’t perfect, but in comparison, they performed much better.
The report does make it clear that there is plenty of work to be done. If you take all the percentages, average them and then round up that number to create a nationwide picture, it isn’t good. Nearly ⅓ of all HGV parks in England score 2 or below.
Contrastingly, only 6.5% of all parks achieve the highest rating of 6.
Further compounding the issue is the fact that a truck park is not cheap. Drivers do not get access to free resources. Motorway service areas across the UK are reported to be the most expensive place to park a vehicle in England. Drivers pay an average price of £31.71.
This is higher than the average parking price for trucks across England, which is roughly £28. Independent truck stop parking, in comparison, is £21.
Michelle Gardner is the Head of Logistics at Logistics UK, and is just one of many who commented on the report. She had this to say:
“This has been an issue for too long and is preventing the industry from recruiting and retaining the skilled workforce that it needs. The government’s stated objective to improve the situation is welcome, but industry now deserves action, so that more parking facilities are developed, at pace, where they are most needed.”
It is clear that for the industry to continue to perform well, changes will need to be made to truck stops. There is a pronounced need for extra security measures.