£20 million has been allocated to improve safety, security, lighting and shower rooms at roadside services for heavy goods vehicle (HGV) drivers.
HGV drivers will benefit from £20m funding, which is set to improve the safety and security of roadside facilities, with the aim to by government and industry to boost driver welfare and tackle a widespread deriver shortage issue.
The funding is part of National Highways’ existing £169 million Users and Communities Fund, and will go specifically towards improving security, showers and eating facilities as well as exploring increasing parking spaces for lorry drivers.
It’s the latest in a list of actions by government to support the sector and to ty and address the global shortage of HGV drivers. It takes the government investment into driver facilities to over £50m in the last year, after £32.5m was committed in Chancellor’s budget.
Some of these issues surrounding poor facilities and access to facilities were raised by Neil Lennox, Head of Group Safety & Insurance at Sainsbury’s, who spoke to SHP in June 2020 about the struggles faced by HGV drivers on the road, during the height of the pandemic.
“Issues were experienced by our long-distance lorry drivers and online goods delivery drivers, who were not able to make their normal stops. They would potentially pull up in a McDonalds, or a service station for a coffee and a break but couldn’t because those places were closed. Even something as simple as going to the loo can be a challenge if you’re a long-distance lorry driver.”
Roads Minister Baroness Vere said: “HGV drivers play a key role in keeping our nation running and contributing to the economy, and it is vital they feel safe and comfortable wherever they stop.
“That’s why we’re allocating £20 million to ramp up security and improve amenities for drivers – building on the raft of measures we’ve already taken to support the industry.
“We’ll continue to work closely with the sector to boost professional driver numbers even further.
Nick Harris, National Highways Chief Executive, said: “We want all road users to reach their destination safely and encourage everyone, from those who drive as a profession through to people traveling on holiday or for leisure purposes, to plan ahead before setting off and to take regular breaks.
“We are dedicated to improving the experience of everyone using our roads and remain committed to working closely with operators of roadside facilities to help improve the standard of parking and other amenities they provide on motorways and major A-roads. We are hopeful that the £20 million being announced today will go some way towards achieving this goal.”
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