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The government has announced a sweeping review of the Driver CPC to ease the current labour shortage and encourage more people to return to the profession.

The move comes after lobbying from industry bodies to extend the validity of any qualification expiring this year to retain drivers who may otherwise be tempted to retire or find alternative work.

The government also said it was identifying sites for short-term improvements to lorry parking and investing £500,000 to move an additional 29,000 lorry loads of freight to the railways.

It added that the DVLA had cleared over 40,000 HGV and vocational licence applications in just four weeks

Drivers currently need to undergo five days of periodic training every five years to ensure they remain fully qualified to drive heavy goods vehicles professionally. The training is an EU initiative and is compulsory within Driver CPC regime.

Some drivers are left to pay for the training themselves and are not paid whilst attending their course, deterring those who have left the profession from returning.

The government said the review will look at how the process can be updated to reduce the burden on drivers – both returning and new – and ensure it doesn’t act as a barrier to working in the sector.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: ”We’re listening to industry leaders who have told us about the issues HGV drivers face with CPC arrangements. Now we’ve taken back control of our own laws and regulations, I’m delighted to say we’re launching a review into these training rules.

“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. No driver should be out of pocket or out of work through no fault of their own.

“This is the latest in a raft of 30 measures we’ve taken to support this vital sector and encourage drivers to return to the job or kickstart a new career in the industry. These measures are working – there is no backlog of HGV licence applications and we’re seeing over a thousand more people than normal apply for a licence each week.”

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The government's parking pledge follows the £32.5m recently committed in the Chancellor’s budget to provide better facilities right across the country for HGV drivers, which aim to drive up standards of roadside parking and facilities for hauliers and further safeguard driver wellbeing, comfort and safety.

The further £500,000 will be added to the existing Mode Shift Revenue Support Fund for 2021 to 2022. This £20 million grant scheme provides funding to private-sector freight companies to encourage them to move more freight from the country’s roads to either the railways or inland waterways.

The additional funding equates to taking a significant 29,000 lorry loads of goods off the roads up until the end of March 2022 and will help to generate more environmentally friendly modes of transporting freight.

The RHA welcomed news of the Driver CPC review, saying it had been calling on the government to reform the rules for months.

“We are delighted that government has listened and heeded our advice by announcing a review into the qualification,” a spokesman said.

“The RHA has long campaigned for urgent reforms, including an extension to the validity of Driver CPCs expiring this year and help retain drivers.

“The RHA also proposes a ‘one for one’ Driver CPC, meaning that a driver should be allowed to extend or renew a Driver CPC entitlement for one additional year if they undertake one Driver CPC training module.

“The RHA looks forward to engaging with the review to ensure these much-needed reforms are introduced, removing the barriers for drivers joining the industry, whilst maintaining safety standards.

“We also welcome the work on upgrading lorry park facilities which will be vital in improving driver wellbeing and encouraging more people to join the sector – and look forward to working with the Department for Transport on this.”

Added Logistics UK director of policy Elizabeth De Jong: “The measures announced today will support our members in their efforts to attract and retain new HGV drivers to the sector. 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; we are pleased that the government has listened to our concerns and will move forward with a rapid programme of improvements.

“Logistics UK and its members also welcome the review of Driver CPC, to ensure that continuous education for drivers is as effective as possible while upholding all necessary safety requirements. Meanwhile, the extra funding for the Mode Shift Revenue Support scheme will help industry to reach net zero emission targets while reducing road congestion.”