Published: 22 June 2018
In Greater London, Yorkshire and Humber, there was more available spaces than in many other regions, but the researchers noted the high levels of off-site parking around the Port of Liverpool thanks to the lack of facilities for drivers.
The report also found: “the strategic road network surrounding the three ports in the South East and East of England is under a lot of pressure for additional lorry parking”
“The A34 in the South East leading north from the ports of Southampton and Portsmouth has high levels of offsite parking and a high number of serious and critically utilised lorry parks. Almost all lorry parks within the counties of Essex and Kent are at critical levels of utilisation.”
More specifically, Kent was discussed by stakeholders who consulted with the DfT, establishing it as an area of concern especially with Operation Stack in place.
Parking becomes much more problematic for the area considering it is the easiest way for drivers from Europe to access the UK, which is why spaces in the area are often completely taken. The report from DfT noted:
“Whether off-site parking is to be considered as inappropriate for overnight parking is undetermined. However, there is a shortage of HGV drivers and one reason for this negative public perception of the industry as well as drivers feeling underpaid and undervalued.”
“Providing drivers with suitable wash and food facilities, to enable them to have a pleasant overnight rest, is important for improving driver morale, perception and road safety. If this is the standard set for what can be defined as “appropriate” parking then most laybys and industrial/retail parks would then be considered “inappropriate”
“With lorry parking averaging at £16.60 per night many drivers would prefer to supplement their salary with a tax free “night out” payment from their employer and spend the night parked off-site for “free”.
“One solution to this problem could be to adapt these locations into “enhanced” off-site parking facilities, having basic amenities for drivers at a modest price”
Transport Minister Jesse Norman released a statement last month, clarifying that 1,000 additional spaces are being developed and planned for proposed sites on a nationwide scale. He added that he’s written to the planning minister who will be contacting local communities to find the best solution that benefits the whole country. Potential developments could lead to up to 1,500 further parking spaces in many areas.
“We need more than vague projections of how many lorry parking spaces they might be able to create in the future” said RHA chief exec Richard Burnett.
“This needs to be addressed right now. Operators of existing sites… have had their hands tied by planning regulations. We need to see an immediate commitment from government and local authorities to build more and better parking facilities, and not throwaway solutions.”
He went on to comment some criticisms on Transport minister Jesse Norman’s proposal: “make things easier for local authorities to take enforcement action against hauliers who park inappropriately. In Kent, the trial on a stretch of the A20 of innovative enforcement approaches has a considerable success in its first 6 months in operation, with a significant fall in the number of vehicles parked overnight, and increased use of commercial parking facilities in the area, especially at the weekends,” he said.
“Subject to findings of this 18 month trial, we will be looking to promote the wider application of such measures elsewhere.”
In response Burnett said: “On the one hand the government admits there’s a chronic shortage of spaces for turckers to park, then on the other they’re giving a green light to councils who target lorry drivers who can’t find somewhere to park. It makes no sense whatsoever.
Years of inaction and red tape have left many areas woefully short of lorry parking – not least in Kent following the collapse of Stanford West plans – leaving many hauliers with no choice but to park in laybys. Government should be pushing for more facilities for truckers to take their statutory breaks, not punishing them for the failings of local authorities to provide them. So let’s build the spaces before we start enforcing against people for not using them”