FTA urgently requests Government handle lack of facilities for drivers

Published: 04 February 2020

FTA urgently requests Government handle lack of facilities for drivers
Just as the next part of the introduction for the Lower Thames Crossing enters full swing, the FTA have demanded the Government address the lack of facilities that will be available to drivers who intend on using the route, with hopes that this will be altered before construction can begin. The FTA shared the view that little consideration had been given for lorry drivers who could need pit stops to take breaks for longer journeys, or for a bathroom break.

Policy Manager for the FTA, Heidi Skinner spoke on the matter: “As the only business group representing all of logistics, FTA is urging government to include provision for driver facilities in its plans for a Lower Thames Crossing. There is already a severe lack of facilities for commercial vehicle drivers in the South East of England; the Department for Transport identified 37% more parking spaces are needed just to meet minimum requirements. Despite making a valuable contribution to the UK economy, these drivers are often denied access to very basic amenities; we are very disappointment to see plans for a ‘rest and service area’ have been removed from the proposals.”

She continued: “FTA and its members have been very supportive of the Lower Thames Crossing; it promises to help ease traffic and improve road capacity in a heavily congestion area. But failure to provide welfare facilities for drivers would be a disservice to these hard-working individuals; no other workforce would be expected to operate under such poor conditions. In an industry where you are compelled by law to take regular breaks and rest, it is vital drivers have access to these most basic amenities; FTA will continue to work with Highways England to ensure facilities are placed close to the scheme.”

For UK trade, logistics must remain efficient and a direct route such as the Lower Thames Crossing will be beneficial for many drivers across the country. However, this means it will also need the appropriate facilities to take on those drivers and offer a more efficient and resourceful route across the Thames than the current QE2 Bridge which often sees major build-up of traffic and can leave many goods late for delivery. With new vehicles, major construction to create alternative and faster routes and the Brexit transition period now in place, the FTA will continue to ensure the Government considers the best possible options for HGV drivers.
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