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Government Announces £20 Million Roadside Driving Facilities Fund

Government Announces £20 Million Roadside Driving Facilities Fund

The government has announced a brand-new £20 million fund to improve roadside facilities on the UK’s road network.

HGV and fleet drivers are at the heart of the proposals, with National Highways looking to improve facilities as part of the drive to improve the image of commercial driving as a career.

Driver safety and welfare have long been a concern for many industry experts, who are welcoming National Highways’ new Users and Communities Fund, which now has a specific fund dedicated to the improvement of roadside facilities.

The fund is targeting the improvement of security, showers, and eating facilities as well as increasing the number of available parking spaces for lorry drivers.

It’s part of a wider investment by the government as they commit to financial support and infrastructure development for the roads network.

The support comes after consultation with several key bodies for the fleet sector as the UK looks to boost its professional driver numbers to meet increasing demand.

How Is The Government Aiming To Ease Pressure On Fleets?

One of the main concerns in recent years has been the shortage of fleet and commercial drivers in the UK.

It’s been an issue for years but came into sharp focus last summer before the government looked to address the lack of new people driving as a career.

The good news is that the latest research has shown that there are a record number of tests being carried out for HGV drivers in the UK.

The figures reached concerning levels last year, with the UK short of 70,000 drivers, resulting in supply chain issues in supermarkets, restaurants, and the hospitality sector.

It’s thought that a combination of a recruitment drive, new HGV boot camps, and an increase in the number of available HGV tests have helped to ease the driver shortage.

This is encouraging for the future of the UK’s haulage infrastructure as more available drivers should ease supply chain issues and increase competition.

What Does It Mean For Driver Safety?

Road safety is an incredibly important part of any consideration and National Highways has reiterated its commitment to improving road safety for all drivers, whether that’s commercial drivers, commuters or just those driving for leisure purposes.

The work is set to take place mainly on motorways and major A-roads, with the government and National Highways working closely with local authorities and the operators of roadside facilities to improve the driving experience on the UK’s roads.

Aside from this, the government has also:

  • Committed £34 million to HGV Skills Bootcamps to train more than 11,000 new HGV drivers
  • Increased the number of available HGV driving tests by 90%
  • Prioritised the processing of provisional HGV driving licences at the DVLA

What do you think of the new investment into roadside facilities? Do you and your drivers think it will have a positive impact on driver satisfaction and drive safety? Let us know in the comments below.