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The provision of on-site lorry parking across the UK is at crisis point in three key regions and close to critical elsewhere in the country, new government research has revealed.

The DfT National Survey of Lorry Parking (Part One) has found that the most crowded overnight parking sites are in the East of England, which is running at 95% capacity, the South East at 94% and East Midlands at 92%.

All three regions are over the critical level of 85%, and above the national average utilisation level of 83%, the study revealed.

The survey carried out during March 2022, audited overnight lorry parking within five kilometres of England’s strategic road network (SRN) to assess lorry parking facilities and demand.

The study found a total of 21,234 vehicles parked within five kilometres of the SRN in England.

It recorded 328 on-site parking facilities, including independent truckstops, local authority truckstops, motorway service areas (MSAs) and trunk road service areas (TRSAs).

It also found 4,068 off-site parking locations, of which 827 were industrial estates, and 3,241 were laybys.

The study findings show a serious shortage of on-site overnight parking with an over capacity of 4,473 vehicles.

It concluded: “The provision of lorry parking at on-site facilities is nearly at critical level, having reached 83% utilisation level across the network,” noting that the East of England, the South East and East Midlands were well above critical level.

The report said conditions at many overnight lorry parking sites were poor. It stated: “Providing drivers with safe parking facilities with suitable washing and food facilities, to enable them to have a pleasant overnight rest, is important for improving driver welfare, perception, and road safety.

“If safe parking locations with suitable washing and food amenities are the standard industry should aspire to in order to achieve these goals, then most laybys and industrial estates would fall woefully below this standard.”

Of the 16,761 on-site spaces, the greatest number were found at independent truckstops, providing 7,390 spaces, followed closely by MSAs with 6,688 spaces – making up 84% of the total.

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TRSAs provide 2,074 parking spaces, and local authority truckstops provide 609 spaces, representing 12% and 4% of lorry parking capacity respectively.

The study also found that of the total 4,516 vehicles parked at on-site facilities, 68% were UK registered and 32% non-UK registered.

It found a similar trend at off-site parking locations with the biggest proportion of vehicles registered to the UK (60%).

The research included a survey of 364 HGV drivers which found that 79% agreed good quality lorry parking has decreased in the past five years, whilst 92% believed truck crime has increased in the UK in the last five years.

Well over 90% of drivers surveyed rated poor quality facilities, sub-standard security, and the high cost of parking as of great concern for them.

The study also ran a driver focus group which overwhelmingly believed the government must take responsibility for improving overnight parking sites.

A majority also noted that European facilities they had experienced were of a much higher standard.

Michelle Gardner, Logistics UK head of policy said this week that the survey “confirmed that England’s commercial drivers are woefully under-catered for when it comes to accessing safe and secure overnight parking areas.

“This has been an issue for too long and is preventing the industry from recruiting and retaining the skilled workforce that it needs.

“The government’s stated objective to improve the situation is welcome, but industry now deserves action, so that more parking facilities are developed, at pace, where they are most needed.

“Logistics UK stands ready to work proactively and collaboratively with all stakeholders so that these key workers can access the safe, secure facilities they are entitled to while undertaking their daily tasks.”