Roadside facilities for HGV drivers will benefit from a £20 million upgrade in an effort to boost driver welfare and recruitment.
The funding, part of National Highways’ existing £169m Users and Communities Fund, will go towards improving security, showers and eating facilities. It will also be used to explore an increase in parking spaces for lorry drivers.
The funding takes the total Government investment in driver facilities to £52.5 million since last year.
The Chancellor committed £32.5m in the Budget, to provide better facilities for HGV drivers.
Roads minister Baroness Vere said: “HGV drivers play a key role in keeping our nation running and contributing to the economy, and it is vital they feel safe and comfortable wherever they stop. That’s why we’re allocating £20m to ramp up security and improve amenities for drivers – building on the raft of measures we’ve already taken to support the industry.
“We’ll continue to work closely with the sector to boost professional driver numbers even further.”
Roadside service operators are being encouraged by the Government to apply for the multi-million-pound fund immediately.
Ken McMeikan, CEO of Moto hospitality, said: “This announcement is a welcome boost for the UK’s hardworking HGV drivers and the sector.
“It is encouraging to see that the input provided by Moto and other industry figures have been acknowledged and acted upon by the Department for Transport.”
Moto says it is investing £12.5m in upgrading all of its showers and toilet facilities.
McMeikan continued: “We look forward to making an application to this £20 million fund, which would allow us to accelerate our plans for enhanced security and increase the physical number of showers we can offer.”
Mags Simpson, Logistics UK’s head of policy engagement, says that the additional funding is a “positive step forward”.
She added: “Logistics UK members have previously cited the lack of available lorry parking and suitable roadside facilities as one of the main barriers to recruitment and as a result, an increase in funding for this vital sector of the economy is much welcomed news.
“Lorry drivers are required by law to take regular rest periods, including overnight mandated rest breaks.
“It is vital that these key workers, who are charged with keeping the nation stocked with all its required goods, have a safe place to take these breaks, where they are also able to make use of much needed bathroom and catering facilities.”