The government is beginning to acknowledge the importance of the road transport industry ahead of the general election, according to the RHA.

Chief executive Richard Burnett told MT that Downing Street had responded to the association’s manifesto for the election, confirming that the document had been received and considered.

Burnett said: “I think they are listening and beginning to understand the importance and relevance, the criticality of making sure that we’re being supported.”

The RHA released the manifesto last week, which focuses on what it considers the industry’s five most pressing issues and what it needs from the next government to address and resolve them.

The issues highlighted are: emissions and air quality; road investment and driver facilities; fuel duty; the skills shortage; and Brexit.

“We’re trying to provide clarity as to what the challenges are that we’re facing as an industry,” said Burnett. “What we’re trying to do is lay out five clear issues needing focus from the government in order to understand the relevance and importance of the industry.”

At present, Burnett said he thinks the most important issue is keeping the UK’s trade borders “frictionless” as it leaves the EU.

Another priority, he added, is the national congestion slowing down the movement of goods, which in turn has a negative effect on emissions and air quality.

Burnett said that while the document had been digested by Downing Street, the election itself was a frustration to the RHA, which believes it could hinder progress toward resolving industry woes.

“It’s incredibly frustrating from our perspective. It doesn’t matter which government gets in, we’re going to have to rebuild relationships.

“But equally we are still having conversations with civil servants making sure we haven’t completely dropped the ball and we’re making sure work is still being done behind the scenes.”

The industry's trade associations have warned that the general election could prove a distraction when it comes to addressing urgent issues faced by road transport.