The RHA is calling on ministers to cut the red tape surrounding planning rules on new truck stops so that HGV drivers can have greater access to safe and secure roadside facilities.

The association is lobbying for the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) to be reformed to make it easier for developers to get permission to build new lorry parking facilities.

The RHA is also proposing that the NPPF should be amended to reflect the regional and national need for lorry parking and to define driver welfare as a priority.

The association calculates that there’s a shortage of 11,000 overnight lorry parking spaces across the country – forcing truckers to park in laybys and industrial estates without access to toilets, washing facilities and food.

Currently local planning authorities assess new planning applications for truck stops in line with clause 109. This states: “Planning policies and decisions should recognise the importance of providing adequate overnight lorry parking facilities, taking into account any local shortages, to reduce the risk of parking in locations that lack proper facilities or could cause a nuisance.

“Proposals for new or expanded distribution centres should make provision for sufficient lorry parking to cater for their anticipated use.”

However RHA argues that this clause is too narrowly drafted for it to be fit for purpose.

It points out that data on local shortages is difficult to determine and reinforces the conception of lorry parking as a nuisance activity.

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In addition RHA believes it does not adequately recognise the national significance of road haulage as the backbone of our economy.

Instead RHA is calling for the following amendments to the NPPF:

• Regional & national requirements for lorry parking spaces, not just local

• The welfare needs of drivers

• The need to minimise travel distances

• Logistics needs and requirements

• Any additional infrastructure required as vehicle move away from diesel towards alternative fuels like electric or hydrogen.

The RHA argues that if these reforms are accepted, local planning authorities will have to take the needs and the significance of the road haulage industry into account when assessing applications for new planning facilities.

The association also believes these reforms would lead to more applications being approved and provide support when appealing to the Planning Inspector when an application is refused.

RHA MD Richard Smith said: “The planning flamework is sadly not fit for purpose which is why we’re proposing reform.

“The facilities out on the road for truckers are often poorly kept and unsafe. They should be able rely on somewhere safe and secure to park overnight with access to clean toilets, showers and decent food.

“We’re keen to work with the government on helping raise the quality and availability of roadside facilities for our drivers. They deserve better.”