The RHA’s big six issues for 2023

The RHA’s big six issues for 2023

28 Feb 2023 Posted By Kate Gibbs

Rod McKenzie, Executive Director of Communications

RHA members have become used to hearing us discuss the three campaigns which we launched a year ago: skills, facilities and the environment. They’ve been really successful at raising the profile of our great industry, in the sense that they represented huge operating and business challenges to our members.

Skills – because of the HGV driver shortage that we saw play out over the past few years and which we now see as extending to workshop staff, technicians and fitters. It was because of our campaign that skills bootcamps were set up and then extended. The crisis hit public consciousness through media coverage and the general public became quick to acknowledge there was a shortage. It’s led to hundreds of new drivers entering the profession though we would be the first to acknowledge that more needs to be done.

Facilities – because the state of lorry parking facilities is a national disgrace. No-where else in western Europe is there such ramshackle, unsafe and unhygienic provision for the basic human needs of lorry drivers. It’s a drum we banged successfully – with the government contributing more than £50 million to improving existing facilities. But yes, still more needs to be done.

Then there is the environment – the rush to Net Zero which for many SME’s is still unrealistically fast given the pace of technological alternatives and the risk of being left with stranded assets – wagons bought in good faith that could be rendered unusable and unsalable. Also, the related issue of Clean Air Zones and charging for use.

But we’ve identified three additional priorities for our campaigning this year, all issues close to your heart and mind’s worry. We feel they need as much attention as the first three.

Cost and regulation – at a time when the UK is facing recession and businesses are confronting increasing costs, how best can our members navigate these choppy waters. What unnecessary rules hold us back – or conversely, what regulation is needed to help us succeed? This is about maximising opportunities, protecting standards and keeping costs down.

The UK’s infrastructure is another major headache: crumbling roads, inadequate routes, badly planned roadworks, diversions and wrong-headed works. We need roads that help the UK to succeed – not hold us back.

And finally – UK and International operations. What aspects of the Brexit deal hinder us? What tweaks need to be made, beyond the obvious Northern Ireland Protocol issues? We are a trading nation and we need to be able to trade freely, unhindered by bureaucracy from whichever national government or wider body may be holding us back.

These priorities are shaped by the economic situation we find ourselves in and the knowledge that only by having a successful and vibrant commercial road transport sector can we drive into a new error of growth, prosperity and good business.

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