All 1,800 longer semi-trailers allocated

All 1,800 allocations for longer semi-trailers have been made, according to the Department for Transport (DfT).

Following the news in August that there were still 400 up for grabs because operators had returned allocations, a final month-long push by the DfT had resulted in the remaining trailers being allocated. This means, within the time-frames for using allocations under the scheme, that the full trial complement of 1,800 longer semi-trailers should be in operation on UK roads nearly three years after the start of the trial in 2012.

A Road Haulage Association spokesman said he was pleased the trailers were allocated and “the DfT had treated all operators equally” when it came to determining them.

RHA urges Treasury to support driver training

As CM went to press, the Road Haulage Association (RHA) was finalising its formal submission to HM Treasury calling for crucial funding to support hauliers wishing to put drivers through their HGV test and Initial Driver CPC (CM 4 September).

A spokesman for the association said: “The RHA has put a strong case to HM Treasury for the government to provide targeted funding for road haulage and logistics companies, specifically to put suitable would-be lorry drivers through the vocational driving and related tests that they need to pass to legally drive a large vehicle.

“The funding must be readily accessible and nationally available, and we have proposed that it be time-limited.”
The RHA said such a scheme was urgently required to ensure UK economic growth, which is being threatened by a shortage of drivers and has now reached “a tipping point” .

The spokesman added: “We consider that it is the most effective and appropriate solution in the short term to an issue that will challenge the industry far beyond the coming weeks running up to Christmas.”

Longer term, the RHA is looking towards the government’s Trailblazer apprenticeship scheme but that will not be in place for two more years.

The RHA ideally wants to avoid something akin to driver tuition fees, stating that there is significant unease among its members about saddling drivers with debt.

It plans to lead a delegation of members to HM Treasury in the coming weeks and is hoping for a result in this year’s Autumn Statement (3 December).