Road user charge proposals will hurt business
RHA Managing Director of policy and public affairs, Rod McKenzie, has challenged a proposal by the Northern Powerhouse Partnership to charge drivers to use certain roads in the north of England.
Rod says 'road user charging' is often a euphemism for charging lorries more. This is already happening in a number of cities across the north of England, with proposed clean air zones targeting lorries which generate only a fraction of the local air pollution.
Rod explained to the BBC that these policies are a reflection of a lack of clear planning and joined-up thinking – a problem which is hindering the Northern Powerhouse.
The full report is available on RoadwayLive.
Tackling the skills shortage
The RHA is urging the Government to do more to tackle the sector’s skills shortage.
The call comes as the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Road Freight and Logistics, chaired by the Rt Hon Sir Mike Penning MP, met on 26 February for the first time. It looks to address some of the big issues facing the industry including Brexit, Clean Air Zones and the driver shortage.
Members listened to evidence from key industry figures from operators and the RHA.
RHA chief executive, Richard Burnett said that firms are finding it difficult to unlock Apprenticeship Levy funding. The sector has only drawn down a fraction of the £140m+ it’s contributed.
“The Levy is supposed to help operators but our members tell us it’s a bureaucratic nightmare, so we need to understand what the problems are and press the Government into action to resolve them.”
Read the full story on RoadwayLive.
Brexit - updated government guidance
The Government has updated its business guidance document, which covers many areas, including information for haulage companies moving goods internationally.
There’s currently a lot of talk about delays to Brexit, but there’s still no certainty about what will happen, so preparation needs to continue.
The RHA has received reports of isolated issues with securing International Drivers Permits. If you need to get one, do so as soon as possible.
Migrant incident reporting line
The RHA continues to engage with government to help protect UK-bound hauliers who find themselves subject to attacks or intimidation from migrants, intent on reaching the UK but with no regard for the safety of others.
Hauliers experiencing problems as a result of migrant activity at Calais, Dunkirk, Ouistreham or any other European west coast ports should call the RHA Migrant Incident Reporting line.
This gives hauliers and their drivers the opportunity to call in and officially log any incidents of threats, intimidation or acts of violence from migrants. Callers will be asked for their name, the nature of the incident, the exact location where it occurred and report any damage to their vehicle or load. Information gathered will be passed to the Home Office and Border Force teams.
Commenting, RHA chief executive Richard Burnett said: “We are particularly concerned that as Brexit looms ever closer and border crossing procedures are still undecided, the desperation of migrants to reach the UK is increasing. As far as they, and the many people smugglers are concerned, it’s now or never. For a driver to lose their life in the line of simply doing their job is both unthinkable and unacceptable.
“The RHA Migrant Incident Reporting Line will provide the evidence and understanding needed to ensure we get the protection that the haulage industry is entitled to expect.”
The 24/7 number to call is: (+44) 1247 863111
Consultation to ban 10-year-old tyres
The Department for Transport has announced it will consult on legislation to make it illegal for lorries and buses to run with any tyre aged 10 years or more.
This is in response to a campaign against the fitting of older tyres on buses, where it was claimed a fatal accident was caused by an old tyre. DfT issued guidance in 2013 advising bus operators against fitting older tyres to the front axles of their vehicles.
This has been reinforced through inspections by DVLA. Since June 2017, they have inspected 136,263 buses and coaches and have found 0.06 percent have breached the guidance.
Trailer registration open
Regardless of Brexit, or any delays that may happen, all UK trailers operating internationally in commercial service, over 750kg, must be registered.
The system to do this has been available in test mode and is now open for all applications.
Full information on registration is available on the Gov.uk website.
Trailers will also have to be fitted with number plates. Those who have used the system say its functioning well, but there are also reports that not all number plate suppliers are able to supply plates.