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UK roads about to become much more dangerous

Robert Durward

BAA calls on Department for Transport to postpone ‘idiotic’ EU Directive before lives are lost

THE British Aggregates Association (BAA) has asked the Department for Transport to postpone what it describes as an ‘idiotic’ EU Directive before lives are lost.

The large goods vehicle (LGV) driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) becomes a legal requirement in the UK on 10 September 2014, despite eight other EU countries choosing to delay it until September 2016. Lorry drivers who do not have the certificate face losing their jobs even although they hold a full LGV licence.


In a strongly worded letter to Patrick McLoughlin MP, Secretary of State for Transport, the BAA has called for an immediate postponement and a full review of the scheme. The Association says HGV drivers are already in very short supply and some quarries are now having to operate a waiting list for deliveries, which is unprecedented.

BAA director Robert Durward (pictured) said: ‘In addition to making the current acute shortage of HGV drivers even worse, the exodus of experienced personnel will have an inevitable impact on road safety. Operators will either have to use less-experienced drivers, if they can find them, or have their trucks stand idle.’

According to official statistics, the number of registered licensed drivers has been falling by more than 10,000 each year for the past three years. There are currently about 900,000 licensed drivers for half a million heavy goods vehicles but only half of them have a Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) – yet it requires at least two drivers per truck to keep the wheels turning to cope with the EU Working Time Directive, holidays and illness.

By 10 September 2014 all drivers must have completed five seven-hour classroom-based modules to qualify for a CPC. However, one-fifth of all HGV drivers are over the age of 56 years and a large number of older drivers plan to leave the industry instead.

Describing the driver CPC scheme as little more than a ‘box-ticking exercise’, the BAA says accident statistics suggest that it is already having a negative effect. The HGV accident rate had been in steady decline but this ended in 2009 when the scheme first appeared and accidents are now on the increase.

‘This episode is a classic case of economic damage, and possibly even loss of life, being caused by superfluous and badly designed legislation,’ said Mr Durward. ‘We all support, and indeed provide, appropriate training but this is a joke. Drivers, some with more than 40 years’ experience, will not tolerate being treated like errant schoolchildren and will find work elsewhere or retire.’

The Department for Transport has undertaken to respond to the BAA’s letter by 10 September.


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