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It’s taken 18 months, but at long last some progress has been made towards addressing the significant shortfall in secure truck parking.
In November 2009, the Labour government buckled under pressure from key associations and published a truck parking strategy document. The election and the change of government delayed its progress, and when we met transport minister Mike Penning last year, we were worried that the Department for Transport (DfT) was effectively placing it in stasis. However, late last week, Penning (can you believe he’s still in the post?!) announced his decision to allow dedicated, full-service truckstops to be built along the motorway network (see p6). This is fantastic, and is welcomed by us as well as the Freight Transport Association and the Road Haulage Association. This change in guidance will free up the planning system around truckstops, which has seen motorway service area operators successfully object to truck-only developments. As ever, the devil will be in the detail: thorough foundations will need to be built and any loopholes closed off. What level of facilities must be offered? How secure should the facility be? What is the minimum number of spaces? What is an acceptable charge for use of a truckstop?
With those foundations in place, supply and demand will then dictate the development of more truckstops. Clearly, it will be in the industry’s best interests that as new truckstops become operational, they are used by as many drivers as possible. Justin Stanton