Last reviewed 22 July 2021
In an open letter to the road haulage sector, Ministers have pledged to work with industry leaders to attract new drivers, simplify training and encourage people to stay in the industry and they have put forward a package of measures to help tackle the current shortage of heavy goods vehicle (HGV) drivers.
The letter, available — here, is signed by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, Environment Secretary George Eustice and Work and Pensions Secretary Thérèse Coffey and promises to launch a new consultation on allowing drivers to take one test to drive both an articulated and rigid lorry.
This would streamline the process for new drivers to gain their HGV licence and increase lorry test appointment availability. The consultation will ensure road safety is paramount and set out that drivers will still be supervised until fully qualified.
The consultation will also look at allowing trainers to examine drivers in the off-road manoeuvres part of the HGV driving test and look at whether specific car and trailer tests should be required. This will allow a significant increase in the number of HGV driving tests that are conducted while maintaining road safety standards.
The Government is also looking to help the road haulage sector improve the working conditions of drivers — something which it sees as key to addressing the shortage and encouraging British workers to forge long, successful careers in the sector.
It will support this, initially, by working alongside the industry to support more official parking spaces for lorry drivers and look at ways to improve the standard of lorry parks.
Ministers are keen to hear more from sector leaders about an industry-led “Year of Logistics”, looking at various other ways to attract more people to join the industry from all parts of society.
Ms Coffey said that the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will continue to encourage those who have already left the industry to re-join, confirming that they are developing a new driver training pilot scheme through Jobcentre Plus to bring jobseekers into the industry.
The Government has called on local councils to be flexible around delivery times to supermarkets and other retailers, allowing drivers to make deliveries earlier in the morning or later in the evening where necessary.