ON THE eve of a vital Planning Committee meeting to consider the future of the Titan Works Lorry Park in West Thurrock, Trade Union Unite has called on the industry to support its campaign to stop truckstop closures, improve standards at ones already in operation, and get new facilities built, reports roadtransport.com.
The union has set up an email hotline – email@example.com – so that drivers can send photos and information highlighting the problems they face.
Unite says it will use the information to lobby the government for improvements in truckstop provision.
According to the union, several of its member drivers have been keeping diaries of their experiences at truckstops around the country. These have drawn attention to problems including inflated parking charges, poor food and drink, dirty toilets and washing facilities, or truckstops closed during public holidays when drivers still require them.
Unite spokeswoman Karen Viquerat says: “Secure and affordable truckstops are vital for our haulage industry. The union knows it is what members want, and Unite says it is not much to ask.”
Malcolm Bingham, head of road network management policy at the Freight Transport Association (FTA), says the organisation supports any initiative to improve facilities for truck drivers.
He adds: “The FTA is supporting two EC initiatives: Secure European Truck Parking Operational Services (SETPOS), which is a pilot project aimed at improving parking security; and LABEL, a project aimed at establishing a certification system for truck parking areas in Europe.
“We are also supporting the Department for Transport’s strategy to encourage the provision of lorry parks in England. Anything that can be done to improve the comfort, security and dignity of our drivers is most welcome.”
A spokesman for the Road Haulage Association says the organisation discussed truckstop provision at its meeting with transport minister Mike Penning last week.
“We are wanting more capacity and more security, especially at motorway service areas. The problems aren’t going to be resolved overnight, but I am optimistic that we will make progress,” says the spokesman.
Thurrock Council says it has served a planning contravention notice on a 200-space lorry park in the borough, even though there are no alternative places for HGVs to park.
A petition against the use of the former West Thurrock power station as a truckstop, known as the Titan lorry park, by a local campaign group called Parents Against Lorries means drivers may have nowhere to park in Thurrock.
A planning committee meeting meets tomorrow (Thursday) to consider the issue.
A Thurrock Council spokeswoman said: “There are no authorised lorry parks in Thurrock. Potential sites are in the process of being identified through the Local Development Framework process. However, these sites will take some time to emerge. In the meantime, the West Thurrock site is being used without the necessary planning permission.”