News from UK re road transport regulation changes

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Covid update 21th March: UK re road transport regulation
  • Drivers’ Hours relaxation
  • Restrictions on London Low Emission Zones lifted
  • MOT testing for 3 months suspended

Drivers’ Hours relaxation to apply to all road haulage operations

Good news for Irish based hauliers transiting through Britain and for Irish owned transport firms based in England.

Following calls between Road Haulage Association (RHA) Chief Executive Richard Burnett and Secretary of State for Transport, Grant Shapps, the Department for Transport has announced that the current limited Drivers’ Hours relaxation will apply to all road haulage operations from 00.01hrs on Monday 23 March until 23.59hrs on Tuesday 21 April 2020.

This is a further recognition of the importance of road freight in providing all that is needed to keep shops, hospitals, manufacturers and the rest of economy moving during the coronavirus pandemic by relaxing the Drivers’ Hours regulations.

Commenting, RHA chief executive Richard Burnett said: “This is a blanket relaxation covering all sectors and recognises how integrated and inter-dependent supply chains are across the whole economy. The sector is working as efficiently and as quickly possible. This relaxation improves resilience in a way that ensure all goods can reach the area where they are needed. Shortages are not the problem at the moment – the problem lies with supplying the current excess demand for goods caused by panic buying. This just creates bottlenecks that undermine efficient delivery schedules. The relaxation in hours will not reduce the levels of enforcement of the drivers hours.  It is vital that companies only use these relaxed rules when needed and companies must monitor drivers to ensure they do not drive tired or in any way unfit.  The need compliance with the rules is absolute. This relaxation must be used wisely, not abused recklessly.”

LEZ and ULEZ suspended
The RHA has welcomed The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan’s decision to temporarily suspend the London Low Emission Zone (LEZ) and the central London Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) during the COVID-19 crisis. The RHA called for the central London ULEZ to be suspended to allow pre-Euro 6 vehicles to deliver the capital’s goods during the coronavirus crisis and not face the schemes charges.  The Mayor went further and has suspended the London-wide LEZ as well.

The RHA’s Richard Burnett said most trucks going into London will still be LEZ and ULEZ compliant, but the move offers firms the flexibility to use other vehicles – including vans – if and when there are driver gaps as the pandemic unfolds.

“Keeping our supply chains resilient will be key in ensuring businesses can continue to function during the crisis. It’s the right thing that firms have the confidence to call in other contractors to move their goods into the capital at short notice and not worry about LEZ and ULEZ charges.”

Trucks & Trailers exempt from MOT testing for 3 months

In reaction to COVID-19, the Drivers & Vehicles Standards Authority (DVSA) has announced that all MOT testing of trucks and trailers will be suspended for 3 months from today, 21 March.

Trucks and trailers due for test in the suspension period will be issued with exemptions automatically. Some vehicles, such as those due for their first MOT test and vehicles returning to service with a test certificate that expired before March, will require an application for exemption certificates.

Commenting: RHA’s Richard Burnett said: “These are unprecedented times that need creative and pragmatic new approaches. It is vital that all vehicles on our roads remain safe to use and their roadworthiness must be maintained at all times.  Routine testing is a vital part of our safety culture and we believe it should be restored as soon as possible.”

The RHA does have concerns about the 3 month suspension.  The Association believes that roadworthiness testing should recommence as soon as possible using qualified ATF staff operating under delegated authority from the Secretary of State. The RHA believes delegating the testing to qualified staff, in a similar way to that done for car and van MOT’s, would be the most effective and safest way to restore the system.

News from POLAND

As a result of relaxing border controls, where truck drivers are not required to write up long documents (localisation) and from now they are not checked on fever levels. German border is working pretty normal. This applies only to trucks not buses and cars.

In general, international road transport missions, by Polish companies, is reduced by 40 percent.