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The RHA is calling on agricultural and food giant AB Agri to reconsider its decision to require its haulage operators to join the SafeContractor accreditation scheme, has learnt.

Sources say the RHA is particularly concerned that hauliers are being held to ransom by AB Agri’s decision to make any further work dependant on operators signing up to the scheme.

The SafeContractor scheme, operated by risk management solutions firm Alcumus, requires firms to pay a fee to be assessed on a list of health and safety requirements and face two audits before qualifying for an accreditation.

It claims to have over 30,000 contractors on its books including Arnold Clarke, Compass group and Avison Young. understands that the RHA is writing to AB Agri’s chief executive Jose Nobre to object to the introduction of the scheme, after members contacted the association with their concerns.

The RHA is expected to argue that the scheme is an unnecessary burden since AB Agri’s hauliers already meet the statutory demands laid down under the operators' licencing legislation and are members of the Trade Assurance Scheme for Combinable Crops (TASCC).

It is also expected to question AB Agri’s wisdom of imposing more costs on its operators who are already struggling with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Rod McKenzie, RHA MD of policy, said: “We are opposed to the imposition of costly, arbitrary, non-statutory regulation of our industry.”