HGV drivers will now receive a brand-new match funding grant scheme, introduced by the government to help improve the facilities that drivers have while out delivering cargo across the country.
The new change will see truckstop and service station owners be able to apply to receive funding from the scheme, which is currently worth £32.5 million, which they can use to provide necessary renovations and redevelopments for amenities commonly used by truckers. This is for things like showers and toilet facilities.
However, officials are requesting that the funding go even further, and are urging government ministers to cut some of the red tape associated with planning permissions, so that developers can start to build new truck stops up and down the country that are much needed.
The RHA Managing Director, Richard Smith, is just one person who has welcomed the change, but has also called on ministers up and down the country to reform any planning regulations in place for the sake of helping to deal with the current big problem surrounding tracking. There are an estimated 11,000 safe and secure parking spaces currently not available, and this shortage is severely damaging the industry.
Speaking on the news, he has said the following:
“We’re pleased to see that service station operators can apply for grants to improve facilities for drivers – the standards at many truck stops are poor so it’s right that the Government has shown this commitment.
“But thousands of truckers every night are still left without safe and secure places to park.
“Simplifying planning bureaucracy would help firms develop new sites quicker, which would boost local economies and offer truckers the facilities they deserve.”
Nobody can deny that these changes represent a significant milestone in the campaign for better facilities for HGV drivers that has been conducted by the RHA in recent times. This funding marks a big success for the organisation, and is proof that with enough time and commitment, radical change can be brought about.
Most recently, the RHA has urged the government to make massive changes to the National Planning Policy Framework. As part of the proposed changes that the group is the chief concern is that the framework is amended to recognise and reflect the current national and regional for truck drivers everywhere, as well as prioritising the welfare of drivers necessary, and reducing the distance between facilities and stop points.
Unfortunately, truck drivers face significant challenges when it comes to trying to get access to reasonable facilities for resting and refuelling. Many drivers find themselves unable to stop for miles at a time, which represents a danger to their health and other vehicles. However, the other significant problem faced by the industry is the fact that many facilities are not up to specification, and are of poor quality. This will undoubtedly have an impact on the health and safety of drivers everywhere. This funding is the beginning of good change, but more success will be required to completely fix the problem.