Time for action on truck stops

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The government must come up with a plan to improve the quality and availability of truck stops in the UK, according to Skills for Logistics.

Chief executive Dr Mick Jackson said: “The substantial short supply of facilities for AGVs and their drivers has been acknowledged as a major problem for many years now and has impacted on the recruitment and retention of drivers, as well as the security of lorries and their loads.

“In February 2008 Transport Minister Jim Fitzpatrick announced plans for a study into the extent of the problem and how it might be solved. And in April 2008 the Department for Transport’s policy document made welcome statements regarding the minimum requirements for sufficient parking spaces for lorries, and for the provision of adequate facilities for drivers, including showers and toilets, food and drink.

“Sadly, twelve months after these announcements we do not seem to have made any progress at all. As ever, drivers frequently have no choice but to use inappropriate roadside locations to facilitate statutory driving breaks, refreshment and toilet needs, and overnight stops, often not only to their own inconvenience, but also to that of local residents. All the more remarkable since we are in the twenty-first century now, not the dark ages.

“The transport industry is responsible for the delivery of the goods and services which the entire population expects to be available close to home. And yet in 2009 our national roads infrastructure fails to provide the essential network of truck stops that are required, and that we are entitled to expect.

“The results of the study cannot come quickly enough – but we need urgent action and not just words. It is totally unacceptable to expect our hi-tech and sophisticated transport industry, and, more particularly, its highly skilled and expert driving workforce, to put up with what are all too frequently primitive or non-existent facilities.

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