RHA Messenger 22 February

22nd February 2017

55 mph through motorway roadworks

A 55 mph speed limit through motorway roadworks is being actively considered by Highways England, chief executive Jim O’Sullivan said at a conference this week. HGVs would pretty much be able to maintain their normal speed.

HE has been discussing this issue with the RHA and others for some time. 

 

Congestion worst in EU

The cost of UK road congestion hit £31 billion last year and the UK and only Russia and Turkey are worse in the whole of Europe, according to an authoritative new study by Inrix.

London is the seventh worst city in the world for congestion. Within the UK, the next worst are Manchester, Aberdeen, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Guildford, Luton, Bournemouth, Hull and Bristol.

Belfast had the most congested corridor in the UK: The A1 southbound from College Gardens to Wallace Park. 

 

Brexit talks continue

The RHA has again highlighted concerns over HMRC’s readiness for leaving the European customs union: HERE.

We are continuing extensive engagement with HMRC and the Department for Transport, and also the Department for Exiting the EU.

At the road haulage forum, we again highlighted the need for future labour policies to be based around what the logistics market needs for efficient operation. Comments: Brexit@rha.uk.net

 

Road haulage forum

John Hayes, the minister responsible for road freight, attended the regular Road Haulage Forum this week. He highlighted areas including the conditions under which drivers work and the facilities that are available, the need to improve recruitment and retention of staff, ongoing support for improved skills training, and the need to improve the parking provision for heavy goods vehicles. Announcements are expected by this summer.

 

Overnight allowance stand-off with HMRC

The RHA continues to lobby against HMRC’s decision to impose a requirement to carry out spot checks of receipts relating to the overnight allowance from April 2017.

Points we are making include:

The receipts do not have to show that the driver has spent his allowance, only that cost has been incurred.

There is no guidance as to whether there is a minimum level of receipted cost or what disciplinary action should be taken if a driver cannot produce acceptable receipts.

HMRC has not disputed that £26.20 is a reasonable allowance.

The guidance as to how often spot checks take place and what proportion of drivers is not appropriate to our industry. 

The RHA has suggested that the driver tick a box to confirm that he had incurred cost. We believe that would meet the legal requirement - and we thought at one point we had HMRC agreement. 

At no point over the past three years has HMRC engaged with us over our detailed case why their requirement was inappropriate.

To recap, HMRC tried to impose this three years ago and it was shelved after a meeting with minister David Gauke. 

A year ago, HMRC wreaked havoc with an incorrect assertion on Gov.uk, over three months, that it would be a legal requirement from April 2016. 

Then, at a meeting in April 2016, they told us that spot checks would be a legal requirement from April 2017, which it isn't – it is simply their decision to require it.

Press coverage HERE.

 

RHA lobbying success near Heathrow

Plans to impose damaging lorry routeing restrictions in the Poyle area near Heathrow have been scrapped. This follows strong lobbying of Slough Borough Council officers and councillors by RHA members and staff. A Good Neighbourhood Guide will be published and we urge all operators to act responsibly.

 

Drivers in UK to be fined for offences in Europe

The Cross Border Enforcement Directive starts for the UK on 7th May. This means that a driver caught, for example, speeding on camera in France can have a ticket follow him back to the UK. More information to follow. More information can be found HERE