Lockdown is easing and non-essential shops are re-opening – but what does all this mean for lorry drivers and the road freight sector?
At the beginning of the lockdown period, the Government introduced temporary emergency regulations to keep supply chains moving throughout the Coronavirus crisis.
This included relaxing the regulations around the number of hours drivers can legally work. As of Monday 15 June, that relaxation has ended, and the usual GB and EU rules around drivers’ hours have been restored.
Delivery hours extension
Another regulation introduced at the beginning of lockdown concerned extending delivery times. So far, this still stands – and the Freight Transport Association (FTA) is calling for it to be maintained.
Prior to the re-opening of shops on 15 June, Elizabeth de Jong, the FTA’s policy director, said: “FTA campaigned successfully for delivery hours to be extended to strengthen the resilience of the supply chain during the pandemic; now, we are urging government to continue the relaxation as the nation emerges from lockdown to support economic and societal recovery from COVID-19.
“With ‘non-essential retail’ units permitted to open next week, we expect to see demand for products increase significantly; continued flexible delivery hours will allow logistics businesses to stock shops safely and efficiently while keeping up with demand.
“And, with Government plans to reallocate road space to cyclist and walkers, extended delivery hours will be needed due to restricted access.
“Logistics remains vital to supporting the nation through the pandemic and rebuilding the economy; Government must not restrict its ability to do so.”
Redistribution of road space
The Government has also issued new guidance to local authorities, allowing them to widen pavements and introduce cycle lanes to help people move away from public transport.
However, the proposals came under criticism from the road transport industry for failing to consider the needs of delivery and service vehicles.
Are you concerned about what the changes will mean for you or your fleet?