Wales will miss a share of a £20M investment the UK Government is making into improving roadside facilities for HGV drivers.
A Welsh Government spokesperson said, “We are disappointed the £20m to improve lorry parking facilities will only be made available for England. We will continue to work with the UK Government to ensure the sector receives the support it needs to continue delivering for the whole of the UK.”
Wales has major transport hubs in Fishguard and Holyhead and HGV groups have long pressed for improvements, without success. The row over Brexit bureaucracy has seen some hauliers by-passing Wales and English roads and catching ferries directly to and from Ireland and the Continent.
This week, a press release from the DVLA, DVSA, National Highways and Department for Transport said it would be giving £20M to improve services on major routes.
The funding will be part of National Highways’ existing £169 million Users and Communities Fund, and will go specifically towards improving security, showers and eating facilities as well as exploring increasing parking spaces for lorry drivers. Roadside service operators are being encouraged to immediately apply to the multimillion-pound fund.
It means the government has now taken 33 actions to support the sector and address a shortage of HGV drivers which is affecting countries around the world.
The funding takes the total government investment in driver facilities to £52.5 million since last year. £32.5 million was previously committed in the Budget to provide better facilities right across the country for HGV drivers, drive up standards and further safeguard driver comfort and safety, across England only.
Roads Minister Baroness Vere said, “HGV drivers play a key role in keeping our nation running and contributing to the economy, and it is vital they feel safe and comfortable wherever they stop.
“That’s why we’re allocating £20 million to ramp up security and improve amenities for drivers – building on the raft of measures we’ve already taken to support the industry. We’ll continue to work closely with the sector to boost professional driver numbers even further.”