Transport Industry Welcomes News of Investment Boost for Roads
As news emerged of an investment package worth more than 28 bn over the next seven years destined to improve and maintain the UK’s road network, the road haulage community had cause for celebration. The announcement was tempered with fears that this cash injection may be too late in some areas.
Essential work planned
As Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander talked in a speech of the importance of the road infrastructure, calling it “essential,” his words were on the whole welcomed warmly by the Road Haulage Association. Whilst agreeing with Alexander’s sentiment, RHA Chief Executive Geoff Dunning suggested that the investment and repairs carried out may happen too late. It is estimated that of the 28 billion invested in the road network, a sizeable chunk worth 6 billion has been ring-fenced for the repair of pot holes, which amounts to around 19 million repairs throughout the duration of the investment.
Expanding on his thoughts that the money may come too late, Dunning explained that “it is essential that work starts today if the UK haulage industry is to deliver economic growth.” Dunning went on to suggest that the extreme weather experienced over the past two winters have led to some “appalling driving conditions.” Given that there has been a lack of investment in recent years, the impact of the weather has been magnified, leaving some side roads in a condition which “can be both dangerous and damaging to vehicles” according to Dunning. UK transport companies on the whole are in agreement that the spending should begin now and not wait until next year.
Highways Agency changes welcomed
The RHA have also been positive in their response to news that the Highways Agency has changed to become a publicly funded corporation. The body which represents UK transport companies has suggested that this move should lead to higher standards in road building, management and maintenance. Likewise, the accountability and transparency of the organisation should be improved thanks to the change in status.
Driver training changes
As the EU wide training standard the Driver CPC reaches its deadline for compliance from haulage firms, the RHA has announced a review of the standard. Given that in the four years since it was launched, companies have been working to ensure that their drivers are suitably qualified, the RHA now feel that they are in a better position to review the standard. The review is intended to give companies a deeper understanding as to how the directive is worked with and how regulators in the UK can improve how the directive is implemented.
Amongst the things to be highlighted within the review is the way in which hauliers have gone about implementation CPC training, along with ways in which the regulators can help to provide both a flexible and a targeted approach to training. The review is being conducted in conjunction with the Department for Transport and agencies concerned with CPC issues. Amongst the things the RHA are unhappy with is the way in which drivers can take the same course as many as five times, making it a tick box exercise.
Rob Jewell writes regularly about business subjects for companies like David Watson Transport. When he is not writing, Rob can be found strumming his acoustic guitar.