The Freight Transport Association has expressed support for proposals by J D Owen Transport for the development of a secure truck parking facility off junction 31 of the A55 in North Wales. In a reversal of the current trend of closures throughout the UK, a major element of proposals for a new business park is for the development of a secure parking area which could accommodate up to 60 heavy goods vehicles. The strategic nature of the A55 is recognised by the European Commission and subsequently forms part of the Trans European Network (TENS). It is therefore important to recognise this fact by ensuring that the route is maintained and improved to the highest standards.
Ian Gallagher, FTA Policy Manager for Wales said, 'The development of a quality lorry park along the important A55 is long overdue. Drivers travelling to and from Holyhead are limited in the number of hours they are legally able to drive; therefore the present situation requires that they are able to stop and take breaks and their daily rest requirement. This is normally in the first appropriate location such as a lay-by. Unfortunately these are not secure and rarely come with toilets or washing facilities.'
The lack of provision of lorry parking has long been recognised in Wales by the Welsh Assembly Government, FTA and the Regional Consortia. The Wales draft freight strategy document 'Connecting Wales' states, 'A specific issue within parking relates to drivers' rest area provision in Wales. This should be reviewed, as the availability of facilities has been identified as a potential issue that adversely affects operations and can lead to localised tensions and problems.'
Gallagher added, 'Unfortunately it is now a novelty to hear proposals for new service stations or lorry parks and not a week goes by without headlines associated with truckstop closures. The safety and welfare of the drivers and their vehicles whilst away from their operating centres has been overlooked for far too long. We support these proposals as a positive way forward.'
Outline plans for the scheme, at a 9.3 hectare site off Junction 31 of the A55, are due to be considered by Flintshire County Council in the next few weeks. A total of 400-500 jobs could be created and a secure truck park built if a proposed development, one mile north of Caerwys, is approved.
Half of it comprises a secure truck parking area with space for up to 60 HGVs, a VOSA vehicle inspectorate compound and weighbridge, together with a new base for J D Owen Transport instead of its current facilities at Afonwen and in the centre of Caerwys.
The enterprise park will comprise low-density offices and starter business units of a maximum two storeys in height.