RHA Messenger 15 February

15th February 2017

Grants for eco-driver training?

The latest Low Carbon Review hints at future subsidies for fuel-efficient driving training for HGV drivers; and also for truck telematics systems. The grants would be targeted at small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The Department for Transport says they need support and advice on how to operate trucks fuel-efficiently than larger fleets.

Although not specified, that could be channelled through the Driver CPC.

Derogation sought to allow Cat B drivers at 4.25 tonnes for alternatively fuelled vehicles.

The review says that 21% of NOx comes from HGVs although they do only 5% of vehicle miles. Disappointingly, the review appears to make no reference to the high relative productivity of HGVs; or the fact that the NOx output has fallen sharply since the figures used in the report, which were published in 2014.

Euro VI trucks produce a small fraction of what older engines emit, and the proportion of Euro VI has risen, and continues to rise, sharply.  Volvo Truck estimates that the proportion of HGV miles done by Euro VI engines is now likely to be between 33% and 40% of the total.

HGVs’ share of transport greenhouse gas emissions are estimated at 16% of total domestic transport. 


RHA/HMRC agreement on overnight allowances

HMRC has this week confirmed that spot-checking of expenses under the RHA/HMRC overnight allowance is not a legal requirement, as it has previously maintained, but simply its preferred method. We can still challenge HMRC in the tax tribunal. We can also refer HMRC to the Business Department for poor regulation of the industry.

The RHA has proposed a solution which we believe meets the needs of the legislation and of the industry, is fair and workable. That is, the driver verifies that he has stayed away overnight in the cab in the course of his work and incurred expense.

We continue to press our case with government. Members are encouraged to write to their MPs.


Driver CPC reform

The Driver CPC is back on the agenda, as a result of proposed changes from the European Commission. These include allowing a course to be taken only once in five years to avoid abuse of the system.

The RHA says that is too restrictive and that it should be possible to take a course twice but no more. The Department for Transport appears to be reluctant to support any restriction (as are others in the UK) and we are pressing our case strongly.

The use of online training is proposed and we welcome that, subject to seeing the detail. There should be a high degree of flexibility, including the ability to stagger the seven-hour training period, we have said.

We have questioned the assertion from Brussels that 33% of HGV journeys in the EU are cross-border and requested evidence; and we sought more information about implementation rates across the EU.


Fair employment practices

The RHA will be responding to the Taylor Review on Modern Employment, which seeks to see how flexible working can be maintained alongside “fair and decent” employment practices. The government has pushed the idea of a UK that works for everyone to near the top of its agenda.

Self-employed tax status, including the role of HMRC, is a key issue Taylor will be considering and he will be taking evidence around the country. We are keen to hear from members: j.semple@rha.uk.net


Stealing goods from moving lorries

Gangs of Romanian criminals are risking death to steal thousands of pounds of goods from moving lorries. This was revealed at the recent RHA Security Forum follow a new high-value attack in the West Midlands, which was reported to Forum secretary Chrys Rampley by the shipper of the goods.

In 2015, 11 Romanians were jailed after being caught in the Midlands.

The technique, known as the “Romanian rollover”, sees the criminals climb onto car bonnets and use crowbars or knives to break into the moving lorries, allowing acrobatic criminals to climb aboard and steal boxes, which are thrown to accomplices in a following vehicles. In many cases a decoy drives in front of the lorry to slow it down.

A gang used the technique to steal £71,000-worth of cigarettes in Ireland in 2015 and it is most commonly used in France and Germany.


CPC and tachograph Information

The DVLA has been developing the inclusion of Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) and tachocard data in its View Driving Licence (VDL), Shared Driving Licence (SDL) and Access to Driver Data (ADD) services. The information being displayed will be the data held by DVLA that is on the cards only.

The changes will be implemented by the end of next month.