By Joshua Robinson –
Lorry drivers across England will benefit from better roadside facilities, more secure parking and improved rest areas thanks to £8 million in government funding awarded on the 11th of September.
A total of 39 roadside facility operators across England will each receive a share of £8 million from the department and a further £11 million from the industry to significantly upgrade truck stops for lorry drivers.
The improvements will boost welfare facilities like showers, rest areas and restaurants, and increase HGV parking capacity while improving security for drivers.
The funding comes from the Government’s HGV Parking and Driver Welfare Grant Scheme and forms part of the up to £100 million joint investment between government and industry to support the logistics sector, helping to boost economic growth.
It also marks the launch of the second window for roadside facility operators to bid for further funding to continue improving lorry roadside facilities across England. The window will close on 20th November 2023.
The measure is part of the Government’s 33 actions to address the shortage of HGV drivers and boost recruitment and retention.
Roads Minister Richard Holden said: “Day and night, our lorry drivers and hauliers work tirelessly to deliver essential food, goods and medical supplies up and down the country.”
“As we continue supporting the haulage sector in playing their crucial role in helping to grow the economy, these first winners will help ensure lorry drivers have great facilities where they can safely park, sleep and rest.”
The scheme draws on ‘The National Survey on Lorry Parking’ which provides important evidence as to what improvements are needed and where to boost the nation’s roadside infrastructure.
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.
Britain’s roads are already among the safest in the world, and the government is committed to helping the sector improve driver welfare, boost drivers’ security, and continue to guarantee road safety.
In total, both government and industry will look to spend up to £100 million through to March 2025 to improve lorry roadside facilities for drivers.
Kate Jennings, Policy director at Logistics UK, said: “Today’s announcement will be welcome news for the professional drivers using the UK’s roads network, who are often forced to take legally mandated rest breaks in their cabs, without access to hygiene facilities, due to a chronic lack of welfare provision on key routes.”
“This announcement is a positive step forward and our members operating in England will welcome the planned improvements to accessible facilities for them to access during the course of their working days.”
The Government’s 33 actions to support Britain’s haulage sector include investing £34 million to create up to 11,000 HGV driver training places through Skills Bootcamps, and increasing the number of HGV driver tests by 90% compared to pre-pandemic levels.
Richard Smith, RHA Managing Director, said: “We are pleased that the first tranche of grants has been announced and that lorry drivers will soon benefit from the improvements this scheme is helping to fund.”
“We would encourage other operators to apply for funding to help them upgrade too. Better facilities, and more safe and secure parking for truckers are a key priority for our industry.”
Mike Heaton, Head of Estate Development Roadside Services from Certas Energy UK, said: “Enhancing driver welfare and ensuring that hauliers have somewhere safe, clean and secure to park their vehicles is a leading priority of our business – and the DfT funding is a vital step in giving drivers the facilities they deserve.”
“DfT has Certas Energy’s ongoing support on their mission to improve driver facilities.”