General election impact
Prime minister Theresa May’s decision to call a snap election, and its acceptance by the opposition parties, means normal business at Westminster stalls until after the vote on June 8th.
That means the RHA is unable to lobby MPs over the HMRC’s imposition of new red tape related to overnight allowances for lorry drivers – as of today, there are no MPs until after the election.
We are keen to ensure that new momentum on lorry driver facilities and training is not lost and is quickly picked up again after the election.
An initial road haulage view of what the next government should do can be found HERE.
Brexit and cabotage
Members should be aware that Brexit could end to the ability of foreign-registered HGVs to undertake domestic transport work in the UK.
It is quite possible – perhaps probable - that the UK will agree a road haulage relationship similar to that between the EU and Switzerland. Were that to happen, international movements would continue along the lines of the current licensing arrangements but there would be no ability for UK-registered lorries to do work in the EU and vice versa. The change would apply to haulage work done under both cabotage and combined transport rules.
The amount of domestic haulage work given to foreign-registered vehicles has risen sharply in recent years. Department for Transport stats show a near-50% increase in the proportion of total HGV miles in Britain undertaken by trucks from abroad in the two-years to the end of 2015. Were the Swiss model for haulage to be adopted, international work would be unaffected but domestic haulage by foreign-registered vehicles would end.
Enforcing and foreign hauliers
The RHA is pressing for more effective enforcement of current laws in respect of visiting hauliers, over which the UK has no regulatory control, particularly in three areas: falsification of tachograph records; the National Living Wage when the driver is doing domestic haulage work (under both cabotage and combined transport rules); and the 45-hour weekly rest under 561/2006.
On the weekly rest, we are pressing for a practical and pragmatic enforcement, accepting the break where it is taken at a recognised depot, service area or truckstop.
Members are reminded that a statement indicating the weight of a container is required for road under EU Directive 2015/719 which comes into effect on 7 May 2017.
The key point for hauliers is that the shippers should provide such information for onwards transport which dovetails with SOLAS VGM requirement brought in last year.
We raised concerns with the Department for Transport that, for example, if a haulier is stopped with a container which has a statement advising the weight which turns out to be not only incorrect but means the HGV is over-weight then the haulier should not be the penalised party.
Useful summary can be viewed HERE.
Queries to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Diesel scrappage fever
The RHA has stressed that it opposes the idea of a patchwork of low emission zone restrictions on HGVs and has again stressed the outstanding performance of Euro VI in real-world operation. These vehicles already account for 35-40% of HGV mileage and that is rising each month.
If there are to be restrictions, road haulage firms must be given financial support to meet the cost of premature obsolescence.
Truly appalling and out
Salford-based cash and carry firm Santorini has had its operator’s licence revoked for “truly appalling” maintenance standards. It operated three vehicles.