The Freight Transport Association’s National Council has condemned the current paucity of driver facilities on trunk roads and motorways, claiming that the Highways Agency should see the provision of adequate facilities as fundamental as creating the road itself.
FTA Chief Executive Richard Turner said, ‘No-one would build a house without a kitchen and a toilet, so why are we still seeing roads without proper driver facilities? We want our main roads to retain their customers throughout the journey, and this includes the need for toilets, rest breaks and refreshment. In the case of long-distance lorry traffic this also includes the need for long-stay parking.’
Mr Turner went on to criticise the current Highways Agency consultation on facilities as seeking views on a whole range of sub-optimal solutions, which has been caused by two basic inadequacies. Firstly, the highways authority, in this case the Highways Agency, should have the responsibility for making these facilities available – this is an absolute need and should be an absolute requirement. Secondly, the planning of these facilities should be part of the overall planning of the road itself and, as the Eddington Report said last December, it is inappropriate for this to be conditional on local planning constraints. This is a national planning need and sub-national planning has no role here.
Mr Turner went on to say, ‘Somehow, we seem to have got to the position where these two ‘common sense’ principles are too big to address and as a result we spend all our time trying to find sub optimal solutions to the myriad of consequential problems. In common parlance these two principles would be referred to as ‘the elephants in the room’ that we are failing to see.’