The FTA has condemned Keith Brown, the new transport minister for Scotland for saying it is unreasonable for large retailers to withdraw their home delivery services because of recent extreme weather in Scotland.
Chris MacRae, the FTA’s head of policy for Scotland, said: “It is very disappointing that Mr Brown’s opening gambit as Scotland’s transport minister is to criticise those companies which have made the difficult decision to suspend their home deliveries due to severe weather. The decision to suspend services, especially in the run-up to Christmas, is not one which is taken lightly, but road safety has to be the number one priority.”
The FTA estimates that a single HGV stranded in the snow will cost around £400 a day, and accused Brown of failing to appreciate the scale of the problem.
McRae said: “If our roads are not fit-for-purpose and businesses are not adequately warned about bad weather, then it is rather cynical to tell industry that what they are doing is inadequate. It seems the Scottish government is trying to place the ball in the court of the retailers, but they are doing all they can to not only deliver Christmas but to clear the huge backlog of goods that have accrued at their distribution centres.”
The FTA secured the initial relaxation of drivers’ hours rules last week, to help truckers remain legal during protracted journeys, and has endeavoured to give an accurate picture of the extremity of recent weather in Scotland.
Before former transport minister Stewart Stevenson’s resignation at the weekend, the FTA had suggested that some of its members reported a lack of gritting on key motorways across the central belt of Scotland.