We know that there are not enough secure parking facilities in the UK. Estimates show that there is a deficit of around 11,000 spaces every night but herein lies one of the problems. No government, whether that be HM government centrally or devolved, can say with any degree of certainty what the up-to-date position is on facilities because there have been no audits done for many years.

In Wales we believe that there are only 168 safe and secure parking spaces in the entire country, yet there are 20,000 HGVs registered there. A basic sum shows that means there are 119 trucks for every secure parking space.

In Scotland we have been waiting for a promised government commissioned audit of facilities for more than two years without any marked progress, but we know that following the closure of Lockerbie services a couple of years ago, the already limited secure parking in the country reduced by around 200 spaces overnight.

Freight crime is endemic, and it has become a multi-million-pound criminal enterprise. Drivers are being subjected to violence for protecting their cargoes. In no other sector or sphere of work would this be deemed acceptable, but it seems that none of the governments in the UK are prepared to take the time to understand the problem let alone tackle the problem. Money, or lack of it, is often the cited cause but there is potentially some low hanging fruit in providing solutions in the form of the planned Freeports.

Government central and devolved tell us that Freeports bring increased benefits to areas of the UK that that need an injection of investment and economic growth. While they are certainly not the answer to all the UK’s economic concerns, they certainly have the potential to help to increase trade for the wider economy.


Our industry is a key economic enabler, and it can drive growth with the right support from decision makers at all levels in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Irrespective of the outcome of this election, our sector (HGVs, LGVs and coaches) will have an important part to play in shaping the economy in the months, years and decades to come. It’s important that the concerns of our industry are taken on board when considering policies that impact the sector.

There are two freeports promised in Scotland and the same number planned for Wales, all of which will be funded centrally by Westminster. Given that around 90% of all freight spends some time on the back of a truck, it is a fair assumption that there will be a plethora of freight movements by road to and from Freeports.

If that is indeed the case, then surely it makes sense to provide safe and secure overnight parking and hygiene facilities for the people keeping supply chains going and moving goods through our nation’s ports? There is dead space at most ports and I’m sure the planned Freeports at Cromarty and Forth as well as Anglesey and Milford Haven/Port Talbot must have some space that can be utilised?

What it would take is the will to do it and a change of attitude. In some ports (not all) trucks are seen as an inconvenience and are to be let in and sent away as soon as possible, often without allowing drivers to use toilets and washing facilities.

We stand ready to collaborate with all parties and decision makers at all levels to look at the opportunities that the Freeports could offer. With millions being spent setting them up, and with this suggested benefit to local and national economies, a real opportunity now exists to collaborate with our sector to include HGV and coach parking in the planning and thinking.

An opportunity exists to support and look after the people who are servicing the ports and making it all work. We believe that no one should feel unsafe at their work and that is why we continue to campaign for safe and secure parking and better facilities for drivers in all corners of the UK.

Martin Reid - RHA public affairs & policy director (Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland)