New £8 Million Fund Aims To Improve HGV and Fleet Roadside Rest Areas
The government has announced new funding aimed at improving roadside rest facilities for drivers, mainly HGV and fleet drivers.
Funding comes from the Department for Transport’s (DfT) HGV Parking and Driver Welfare Grant Scheme as it looks to make life on the road easier and more convenient, as well as more comfortable.
In total, 39 roadside facility operators in England will receive a share of the funding as well as an additional £11 million from industry to upgrade their facilities.
The funding will be spent on improving and installing showers, rest areas, restaurants and increasing parking capacity, while also looking to improve security.
Why The Funding Is Crucial For Fleet Operators
You’ll be well aware that in the last couple of years, finding and keeping drivers has proved to be increasingly difficult.
A combination of factors meant that there was a significant shortage of drivers, particularly as older drivers retired, and some EU-based drivers returned to their home countries.
The issue was exacerbated by a lack of younger people entering the HGV and fleet driving sector, which the government recognised as an area of concern.
As such, National Highways, the DfT and the government have been working to improve the image of commercial driving as a career in order to attract new starters to the profession.
This specific batch of funding aims to address issues around driver safety and welfare, something which we’re all well aware of.
The improvement of roadside facilities makes it easier for drivers to take a break when they’re either required to or when they need to (or both!).
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, including fleet drivers.
The Roads Minister, Richard Holden, has also stated that the government are committed to supporting the fleet industry, particularly given the UK’s reliance on drivers delivering essential food, goods, and supplies all over the country.
Given that drivers are required to take mandatory breaks and rest periods, the provision of adequate facilities will improve the overall experience and aid in their rest and recovery in the short AND long term.
There’s also a separate match funding scheme for roadside facilities operators currently open for applications from the government, which you can read more about here.
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 government’s current investment plans for 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.