The Freight Transport Association has welcomed the announcement by Road Safety Minister Jim Fitzpatrick that an extra £24 million of funding is to be allocated to the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) in order to improve enforcement targeted on foreign lorries. FTA says that poorly maintained foreign lorries working in the UK constitute a serious road safety hazard, together with unfair competition for the domestic transport industry.
FTA Director of External Affairs Geoff Dossetter says 'FTA was disappointed by the Government announcement in the Budget that they were not to go ahead with a charging scheme on foreign vehicles entering the UK. We had hoped for a system whereby all foreign vehicles arriving in Britain would be obliged to 'tell us who you are' and provide details including ownership, postal address, origin and destination of load, emission standard and last safety inspection. However, it is now clear that that idea has unfortunately been rejected since we believe that it would have provided helpful support for VOSA's activities. Similarly, we have been disappointed that the Road Safety Act, which will result in roadside fines or prohibitions for offending vehicles, is not to be implemented until 2009.
'However, the news of this new three-year increase in resources for VOSA is welcome. The evidence shows that one in three of the foreign lorries working in the UK is not in a roadworthy condition, one in four is driven by an over-hours driver, and one in eight is overloaded. This unsatisfactory operational behaviour is reflected in the poor accident record experienced with these vehicles. And this is not only a road safety and commercial problem for our domestic fleet, but brings all road freight transport operations, including those by the vast majority of safe and sound UK operators, into unfair disrepute.
'Lorries, including those from overseas, carry out a vital role in supplying the everyday needs of the whole of the UK population. It is absolutely essential that they are maintained and operated in the safest possible condition. FTA wishes VOSA well in the application of these new resources.'
The Freight Transport Association represents the transport interests of companies moving goods by road, rail, sea and air. FTA members operate over 220,000 goods vehicles – almost half the UK fleet. In addition they consign over 90per cent of the freight moved by rail and over 70 per cent of sea and air freight. FTA's website can be found at