All travel relating to the operation of logistics business has been designated as essential travel by the government during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The confirmation comes after both RHA and FTA complained to government officials that logistics workers were being challenged by police and other officials while trying to get to work or carrying out related services such as vehicle washing and delivering spare parts.
In a letter sent to the RHA and FTA this week, Ben Rimmington, DfT co-director of road safety, standards and services, said: “It essential that the work of the logistics sector should continue to the greatest extent possible through the COVID-19 crisis.
“Haulage drivers, managers, warehouse staff and all other logistics professionals need to continue to go about their business to keep supply chains moving, and government policy is clear that this applies to all supplies chains and not only those for food and medical supplies.
“All travel related to the operation of logistics businesses (including for instance necessary washing of vehicles or supply of spare parts) or necessary travel by logistics workers to places of work such as distribution centres is therefore to be considered ‘essential travel’ in the context of current restrictions.
“At all times workers should however follow Public Health England guidelines on social distancing."
Rimmington said all police forces will be made aware of the essential status of logistic workers and their right to travel during the COVID-19 crisis.
“I would be very happy for you to share this letter with your members," he added, "and for them to use it as evidence of the government position on this point in the event of any misunderstandings.
“Thank you for everything you and your members are doing to keep supply chains moving in these difficult times.”
RHA policy director Duncan Buchanan welcomed the letter.
“It is really important drivers and others in the supply chain are able to work without being questioned by officialdom about their right to carry out the essential work they do.
“In recent days we have had instances of drivers being questioned about whether what they do is essential or not. It is clear what a lorry driver does is essential and that is what DfT has confirmed.”
A copy of the full letter can be printed out from both the RHA and DfT websites.