The Government has announced £32.5 million in match-funding to improve roadside facilities for HGV drivers.
Truck-stop and road service operators can bid for a share of the match-funding pot, which is in addition to the £20m match-funding launched earlier this year from National Highways.
The roads minister Richard Holden will launch the funding at the Red Lion Truckstop in Northamptonshire today (Thursday, November 24), which aims to improve security measures for drivers, boost welfare facilities like showers, rest areas and restaurants, and increase HGV parking capacity where possible.
Holden said: “Hauliers and drivers are critical to keep our economy motoring. But for decades, our truckers have had a raw deal when it comes to decent roadside facilities.
“This is why I’m so proud that our Government is going to provide match funding support to the industry to boost drivers’ welfare, safeguard road safety and make sure driving an HGV is a really attractive career option by providing the facilities and respect our lorry drivers deserve.”
The funding scheme draws on ‘The National Survey on Lorry Parking: Part One’, which provides evidence as to what improvements are needed and where to boost the nation’s roadside infrastructure.
The Department for Transport (DfT) says it is committed to helping the sector achieve the Government’s long-term objectives of improving driver welfare, boosting drivers’ security, and safeguarding road safety.
With hauliers required to take mandatory breaks and rest periods, building better roadside facilities will improve the quality of HGV drivers’ rest and recovery, ensuring everyone can feel safe on our roads, it added.
National Highways customer experience director, Pete Martin, said: “We continue to work closely with operators of roadside facilities to help improve the standard of parking and other amenities they provide on motorways and major A-roads and are excited to see the results of this investment.
“We want all road users to reach their destination safely and encourage everyone, from those who drive as a profession through to people travelling on holiday or for leisure purposes, to plan ahead before setting off and to take regular breaks.”
Director of policy at Logistics UK, Kate Jennings, welcomed the funding. She said: “Logistics UK’s members and their employees deserve access to hygiene and rest facilities enjoyed by workers in other parts of the economy, and it is good news that funding is becoming available to help improve the quality and safety of amenities already in place - a swift resolution will now be needed to ensure that the shortfall of lorry parking and necessary facilities can be constructed and opened to support our key workers in the course of their daily travels.”
The DfT says that the HGV Parking and Driver Welfare Match Funding Grant Scheme will support operators to develop and improve HGV parking, security and HGV driver welfare facilities at independent truck stops, Motorway Service Areas (MSAs), Trunk Road Service Areas (TRSAs), and local authority truck stops located on, or near to, the Strategic Road Network in England.
The DfT will match fund up to 50% of the capital cost of an improvement project for small operators and up to 25% of the capital cost for larger operators.
The application window for the HGV Parking and Driver Welfare Match Funding Grant Scheme launches today (Thursday, November 24) and will close on February 24, 2023.
The DfT says it expects improvements for successful applicants to be made over the course of the next financial year 2023/24, with some flexibility where planning permission is required.