Lomas Distribution consolidates sites with new depot

Bulk powder transportation specialist Lomas Distribution has spent £3.5m on a purpose-built depot in Buxton, Derbyshire. Brighouse Construction began work on the new depot, on a former brownfield site at Waterswallows Industrial Park, in August 2007 and completed the project, on schedule and to budget, last month.

Managing director Richard Lomas tells MT: "We decided to consolidate our two sites and have just one purpose-built depot and offices that would contain everything we needed." The new building provides Lomas with a vehicle maintenance facility, comprising a VOSA bay for MOT testing and six service bays and pits.

The site has 150,000ft2 of parking for 115 HGVs and features an ecologically efficient vehicle wash for articulated bulk tankers, which is able to recycle up to 75% of the water it uses. Also completed as part of the project is a new three-storey office building.

"The new facility, which we hope to move into in the next week, is situated a lot closer to our main customer, Buxton Lime Industries," adds Lomas. To date, Lomas has 160 staff and runs just under 100 vehicles.

London PCNs soar to all-time high

The Freight Transport Association (FTA) says the number of penalty charge notices (PCNs) being issued to operators in London is as big an issue as fuel duty is for some of its members. The claim follows figures received by the Brewery Logistics Group which show that parking tickets are being issued by parking attendants (PAs) in record numbers and are costing hauliers more than £2m a year. This is an increase of more than 110% in three years.

The group's chairman, Mike Bracey, says he is now dealing with members' complaints about multiple tickets being slapped on lorry windscreens within minutes of each other when the vehicles have not moved.

He adds that some PAs appear to be unaware of the boundaries between London boroughs, but that even if they are, they are still issuing tickets to vehicles already displaying a PCN. This has been highlighted by a recent incident in which a Tradeteam vehicle parked in Goodge Street was issued with two PCNs 14 minutes apart one by a Camden PA and then one by a Westminster PA.

Bracey says: "A driver doesn't know when he leaves Camden and goes into Westminster. If the enforcers don't know, what chance have we got?"

The FTA says it still receives a lot of calls about PCNs. Policy manager Natalie Chapman comments: "We have companies paying £1m a year in fines. Westminster, Camden and TfL are the top three issuers by a long way."

A spokesman for Westminster Council was unable to explain why a second PCN was issued, but says its Goodge Street ticket has now been cancelled. He adds: "Perhaps the delineation is not quite as clear as one would expect and like. Westminster has cancelled its ticket, which shouldn't have been issued it was on the Camden side of the border. We have briefed our parking attendants to make them fully aware of the borders."