The UK government is to review training for current and new HGV drivers in the wake of ongoing shortages that have disrupted supply chains for months.
The work will involve looking at ways to improve the current system so drivers carry less of the burden of compulsory training.
Under the EU Driver Certificates of Professional Competence regime (CPC), HGV drivers currently need to undergo five days of training every five years to ensure they remain fully qualified.
However, some drivers have to pay for the training themselves and are not paid while attending courses, putting off many who left the profession from returning.
The review will consider how the process can be updated to ensure it does not act as a barrier to new and returning drivers, as the government attempts to bolster supply chains and tackle the driver shortage.
The announcement comes following a warning from industry leaders that the UK’s key public services, including bin collections and bus services, could be impacted by the HGV driver shortage.
Last month, the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee also heard evidence from the sector that the HGV driver shortage, along with the related supply chain disruption including empty supermarket shelves, was likely to last for a year.
Transport secretary Grant Shapps said the government was listening to the concerns of industry leaders, including CPC arrangements.
“We understand it’s vital for drivers to remain fully qualified, but we’re looking to ensure they can do so in the most efficient way possible whilst maintaining road safety standards,” he said. “No driver should be out of pocket or out of work through no fault of their own.”
The government said the DVLA had cleared more than 40,000 HGV and vocational licence applications in the last four weeks, to remove backlogs.
It also said that it was working with key stakeholders to identify lorry parks across the country where short-term facilities such as temporary toilets, showers and catering could be delivered in the coming months.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak committed £32.5m to providing better roadside facilities for HGV drivers in last month’s budget. The government is investing another £500,000 into its Mode Shift Revenue Support Fund, a £20m grant scheme to provide funding for private sector freight companies to encourage them to move more freight from roads to rail or inland waterways.
Elizabeth de Jong, director of policy at Logistics UK, said: “Inadequate driver facilities across the roads network have led to a negative impression of our industry, creating a barrier to entry to our sector and are an issue that Logistics UK has been campaigning on for many years.”
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