Thursday, 26 January 2017 GMT
Author: Staveley Head
With the results of the EU referendum, a driver shortage and talks around a ban on HGVs in London, 2016 had been a tough year for Britain’s truckers.
As providers of HGV insurance we are now looking forward to seeing what 2017 will bring for the haulage industry.
The Continuing Driver Shortage
A shortage of HGV drivers has been a continuing problem for the transportation industry for years, with a shortfall of drivers to the tune of 60,000 in 2016 and that number is due to increase by another 40,000 throughout 2017, as an ageing population are set to leave the industry.
Although the outlook seems gloomy, the government are beginning to take notice of this issue and are starting to put measures in to place to tackle the driver shortage. A government led taskforce will be formed with the aim of attracting a wide variety of gender, age and ethnic groups through education. There are also calls for better facilities and improved safety to help attract and retain drivers.
Could Lorries be Banned from London?
Driving around London is looking like it will be getting trickier for HGV drivers in the near future. Diesel vehicle owners could face a £10 ‘toxicity’ charge in an attempt to reduce air pollution in London. This charge will apply to all diesel vehicles built before EU emissions standard was passed in 2005.
HGV drivers will face further trouble getting around the capitol, as London’s mayor is set to enforce a safety rating on vehicles to help achieve increased cyclist safety, as shockingly, lorries have been involved in 23% of pedestrian fatalities and 58% of cyclist fatalities but only make up 4% of London traffic. This rating system will ban vehicles with the worst visibility from London’s streets by 2020. Restrictions have already begun as Transport for London (TfL) and the Greater London Authority will not approve contract work from any zero rated vehicles as of April 2017.
Is a general ban on HGVs in our cities the answer to the safety of vulnerable road user’s safety? Or is there more that can be done on the design of large commercial vehicles which have many large blind spots?
Gas powered lorries could start to become a more common site on our roads over the coming year, with retailers like John Lewis, Waitrose and Argos becoming some of the first companies to start using the engines alongside CNG Fuels biomethane fuel. This new green technology does come at a price however, with gas trucks costing 50% more than regular diesel trucks, although the amount spent on the vehicles can be made back within 3 years thanks to the cheap cost of the fuel.
Facilities to Improve
Facilities for HGV drivers on British roads have come under plenty of criticism and have been attributed as one of the reasons that the country faces a driver shortage.
Hopefully things are beginning to change, with politicians beginning to push for improved parking and facilities. The main focus for these improvements is aimed around Kent, where plans are underway to develop a £250million lorry park for drivers making the trip to the channel tunnel or Dover, with building work set to begin in the summer.
We all know that 2016 was a year of change and challenges, especially with Britain voting to leave the EU. This decision has cast a shadow of uncertainty over the haulage industry, with many calling on the government to meet the needs of those who already work in the industry and manage the recruitment of foreign workers after BREXIT.
Although leaving the EU does have its challenges, it could also have its positives; according to some industry experts it allows the opportunity for the industry to make demands and help shape the direction in which it will go.