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TTUK spokesperson takes part in Ministerial Round Table
Truckers' Toilets UK's Gill Kemp was one of three women and 35 men from various organisations who took part in a Ministerial Round Table recently, on roadside facilities.
TTUK had been invited to lead on two agenda items: 'Minimum Standards' and 'Provision of facilities for visiting drivers', but the discussions focused more on lorry parking (especially in the Kent area), security and safety; food provision; laybys and slip roads - and, of course, costs. Gill did make her voice heard and tells us that the Chair, Rt Hon John Hayes MP, Minister of State for Transport, appeared shocked that the Minimum Standards - which he said were reasonable - are not adhered to.
"However, talking about details was not appropriate as there were so many opinions to be aired and shared," reports Gill in the TTUK newsletter. "It was evident that there has been little communication between the various bodies involved with establishing roadside facilities, which had led to the unacceptable situation where drivers can't access a toilet - or any other facilities - and it was frustrating to learn that there would be yet more surveys to ascertain where facilities should be located.
Highways England is apparently working on a road investment strategy with Transport Focus which is a long term approach. "How long?" asks Gill. "We don't know - and it was pointed out that the majority of roads are not under Highways England. The Minister did state that he would circulate the actions to be taken and TTUK looks forward to sharing them.
"In summary, it was agreed that facilities should be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with suitable and sufficient secure parking. Another meeting is planned to provide an update on actions in six months. Hopefully there will have been some progress!"
Gill believes that her presence at the two-hour Ministerial meeting demonstrated that the TTUK campaign to improve access to facilities for UK lorry drivers is being recognised. She says she was pleased to meet with several attendees after the meeting and appreciated the support given to the campaign - especially by Unite the Union and the Road Haulage Association.
She learned that there was a meeting in 2009 that 'committed' to change...
"That was seven years ago," she says. "Why are drivers still waiting to have decent facilities made available? Why isn't their health - and that of other road users - of concern?"
1st December 2016