UK Government announces £20m investment in HGV driver facilities

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The UK Government has announced it will spend £20 million in order to improve roadside facilities, thereby boosting driver welfare and tackling the effects of the global driver shortage in the UK.

UK Government announces £20m investment in HGV driver facilities
Photo © Copyright Gerald England

In a statement released yesterday, the government said the funding was part of National Highways’ existing £169 million Users and Communities Fund.

The cash will go specifically towards improving security, showers and eating facilities, as well as exploring increasing parking spaces for lorry drivers. The government is encouraging roadside service operators to apply for the multimillion-pound fund immediately.

The additional funding, claims the government, takes state investment in driver facilities to £52.5 million since last year. That figure includes the £32.5 million that was pledged in 2021.

Commenting on the announcement, Roads Minister Baroness Vere said:

“HGV drivers play a key role in keeping our nation running and contributing to the economy, and it is vital they feel safe and comfortable wherever they stop. That’s why we’re allocating £20 million to ramp up security and improve amenities for drivers – building on the raft of measures we’ve already taken to support the industry. We’ll continue to work closely with the sector to boost professional driver numbers even further.”

Also commenting on the deal was Ken McMeikan, CEO of Moto hospitality. He said:

“This announcement is a welcome boost for the UK’s hardworking HGV drivers and the sector. It is encouraging to see that the input provided by Moto and other industry figures have been acknowledged and acted upon by the Department for Transport. Moto continually invests in refurbishing and cleaning the services we provide for HGV drivers and has been investing £12.5 million in upgrading all our showers and toilet facilities. We look forward to making an application to this £20 million fund, which would allow us to accelerate our plans for enhanced security and increase the physical number of showers we can offer.”

Industry bodies have offered their thoughts on the news too.

Mags Simpson, Logistics UK’s Head of Policy Engagement, described the announcement as a “positive step forward for industry”. She wants to see roadside service operators urgently apply for funding.

“It is vital that these key workers, who are charged with keeping the nation stocked with all its required goods, have a safe place to take these breaks, where they are also able to make use of much needed bathroom and catering facilities,” added Ms Simpson.

The RHA has also welcomed the Department for Transport’s announcement of £20m to improve roadside facilities.

However, Tom Cornwell, RHA lead for Infrastructure and Operator Licencing, said that more still needs to be done:

“This is encouraging news for our drivers who often tell us about poor facilities on the road but there’s a long way to go. We believe we need an extra 11,000 safe and secure parking spaces and we’re determined to tackle that shortfall by working with Government, industry and officials,” said Mr Cornwell.

Photo © Copyright Gerald England and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

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