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Driver Require gives evidence at House of Commons Transport Committee

Examining the challenges facing the road freight supply chain

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The House of Commons Transport Committee’s remit is to examine the expenditure, administration and policy of the Department for Transport and its associated public bodies.

Last held in 2016, the 2021 inquiry examined the challenges facing the road freight supply chain, including the pandemic, driver shortages and changes to border procedures. In this session, the Committee questioned logistics representative bodies, including our CEO Kieran Smith as a representative within the driver recruitment sector. Other participants included Cold Chain Federation, Logistics UK, Unite and the RHA.

The Committee discussed how the sector has worked over recent months to alleviate challenges within the supply chain and explored what more can be done.

Kieran discussed at length the challenges regarding the lack of adequate roadside facilities for drivers and was asked by Conservative MP Chris Loder about how terms, conditions and facilities for drivers could be improved. Kieran replied by stressing the need for approved standards similar to those recently adopted by the EU.

“Every time I ask people who are supposed to know about this stuff, they’re unaware of any standard.  I’m unaware of any standard apart from the HSE standard. Whereas if you look at the European connecting Europe facility, where they recently announced, what 176 million euros/ 160 million pounds, not a lot when you compare it to the 32.5 [promised by the UK Government for lorry parks], they tied that to standards.”

Loder then looked for further clarity, asking “You’re wanting the government to mandate very clear minimum standards”?

Smith then added:

“Yes, absolutely. And as I said, also very clear planning requirements. So again, on the continent, if you’re going to build a very lucrative retail park, or commercial park – you must put in sufficient secure parking with security and facilities. It comes back to roads pricing as well. We tax but we don’t actually use that tax to then invest in the the provision of secure and decent facilities with amenities. Whereas if you look at France, where you’ve got a toll system, when they build a toll road, there are requirements that they have an aire de repos [rest area] every so many kilometres, and on each of those aire de repos you must have a toilet, and it must be functioning and it must be clean. Yet we don’t do that.”

Adrian Jones, National Officer for Road and Transport for the Unite trade union, sat alongside Smith during the committee. He too supported the idea of minimum standards being set, and said that lorry drivers themselves should be involved in deciding on the standards. Extract from

 Other topics discussed included the effectiveness of the relaxation of driver’s hours, medical renewals, reform of driver’s CPC and working time regulations.

Download and watch the session here 


Monday 6th December 2021

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