Government refuses funding for HGV licences

The government will not fund HGV licence acquisition as a way of easing the HGV driver shortage in the UK, according to DfT minister Lord Ahmed.

The news comes as a blow to the haulage industry, which has been lobbying hard for government funding of HGV driver training as a way of encouraging more drivers into the industry, which is facing a shortfall of about 40,000 drivers.

The cost of gaining an HGV licence ranges from between £1,500 and £3,000.

Speaking at a Transport Committee hearing this week on the driver shortage crisis, Lord Ahmed made the government’s position clear.

He told the committee: “The principle remains that we won’t look at funding HGV licences. That has been a principle established since 2005 and that is a position we will not be changing.”

 

This story originally appeared in the 25 February issue. Why not subscribe and get 12 issues for just £12?

EU ‘leave’ vote may not affect transport legislation

A UK vote to leave the EU is unlikely to trigger an overhaul of UK transport legislation, according to transport lawyers.

Woodfines partner Tim Ridyard told Commercialmotor.com: “The Utopian notion that Brexit means all regulation disappears may not accord with reality.”

He added that if the UK joined the likes of Norway in the European Economic Area, post Brexit, it would still be bound by many EU laws.

Ridyard also questioned the wisdom of removing safety laws such as Driver CPC. “Would the UK want to abandon a regime that requires some form of ongoing training for drivers as part of the road safety objective?” he asked.

Aaron and Partners lawyer Tim Culpin echoed this view. “Even if we do come out, I doubt there would be any change to the law in terms of driver-related road safety in this country.”

DWF senior solicitor Joanne Witheford said the UK’s record on rigorously applying EU law made it unlikely it would attempt to unravel them, post-Brexit.

“The UK already takes EU legislation to a much higher degree in terms of implementation. I don’t believe that, if we left the EU, we would take a step back and throw out all that legislation,” she said.

Pragma Law road transport specialist Lucy Whitaker said there is room for improvement on certain laws but said any change could be difficult to see through. “There are several well-intentioned but ill-considered laws I’d change, such as Driver CPC and financial standing, but it’s not up to me, and who knows what the views of those in positions of influence or power are?” 

She added: “It’s easy to complain about existing laws, but reaching an agreement about what they should be replaced with is more difficult.”

Transport solicitor Christabel Hallas warned a Brexit could see a loss of valuable regulations such as the requirement on member states to compile a national register of transport operators, which will include a history of infringements.

“This would make it more difficult for our enforcement authorities to monitor the safety of vehicles coming into our country from the EU.

This could mean a rise in the number of foreign-registered vehicles involved in accidents while in the UK,” she argued.

 

This story originally appeared in the 25 February issue. Why not subscribe and get 12 issues for just £12?