Truck drivers still being attacked on daily basis in Calais, say RHA

Truck drivers are still facing attacks on a daily basis in Calais, despite the closure of the ‘Jungle’ camp in October 2016, the chief executive of the Road Haulage Association (RHA) has said.

There are reportedly five or six attacks per day on HGV by people traffickers trying to get others into the UK, although the true number could be higher as some drivers don’t report incidents.

About 700 migrants are living rough in the area where the Jungle once stood, according to estimates by charities.

Talking on the Victoria Derbyshire programme on BBC2, RHA chief executive Richard Burnett said that although the problem may have dropped below the gaze of the media it hasn’t gone away.

“Drivers are still being attacked on a daily basis,” he said. “People traffickers are rife and they will attempt to stop trucks by whatever means possible. We get regular reports of traffickers throwing rocks, putting boulders in the road – even lying in the road so that the vehicles have no alternative but to stop.

“This is a humanitarian issue and neither the French nor the British governments are doing enough. It’s also a humanitarian issue for the drivers who just want to do their job in safety but they still face violence and intimidation on a daily basis. It’s not what they signed up for.

“The British government needs to be influencing its French counterparts. The British government at the moment is like a revolving door in terms of the number of immigration ministers we have worked with during the past few years. It’s difficult to build relationships, to influence, to make the necessary changes.

“Also from our perspective, there is intelligence and evidence to show that the heartbeat monitors at the French border are being switched off allowing migrants to pass through. Why? Because it’s easier and because they don’t want to deal with the issue.

“That’s just not good enough. The issue must be dealt with, the migrants must be processed quickly and the RHA will be doing all it possibly can to ensure that the summer of 2018 doesn’t bring continued misery for truckers.”

Snow and ice weather warning for Shropshire as temperatures drop

A severe weather warning has been issued for Shropshire, as the county braces itself for snow and ice.
 
Sleet, snow and hail showers are expected to fall as temperatures drop, leading to the Met Office to issue a yellow weather warning for Tuesday evening and overnight into Wednesday.

The warning covering Shropshire and mid Wales is for snow and ice and runs from 11.30am on Tuesday until 11am on Wednesday.

There is a greater chance of snow further south across parts of Wales and but white powder could land in the Midlands later into Tuesday, forecasters said.
 
A snow and ice warning is in place for these areas, with two to six cms of snow expected over the hills and one to two cms at lower levels.

Luke Miall, a forecaster at the Met Office, said: "The forecast for today is it's likely to become a bit more wintry, so we could be seeing snow for many areas, with northern and western areas seeing frequent showers."

Mr Miall added: "It will stay cold, we will continue to feel that wind from the north west, quite gusty, so feeling bitterly cold outside today."

Showers are expected to continue into the night with wintry falls on Wednesday.

Delays to travel are possible, with a lower likelihood of cancellations of public transport.

Some roads and pavements will turn icy, with an increased likelihood of some accidents and injuries.

 The warning comes just a month after snow brought widespread disruption and shut the majority of schools in Shropshire and mid Wales for three days.

The Met Office has also issued a yellow warning for high winds from Wednesday evening into Thursday morning.

During Wednesday night and into Thursday there is the potential for gusts of 60 to 70mph quite widely, and a small chance of winds reaching 80mph in places.

NEED A LORRY LORRY DRIVERS Trucker shortage threatens post-Brexit trade boom with 45,000 jobs to fill

BRITAIN’S post-Brexit trade boom is under threat from a drastic shortage of lorry drivers, a report warns.

Haulage bosses need to train 45,000 new truckers just to fill existing vacancies.

And the shortage is growing at the rate of 50 a day – with a further 20,000 expected to quit by the end of the year.

Transport watchdogs have warned the crisis could crash the economy unless urgent action is taken to hire new recruits.

The average age of a British lorry driver is 55 and there are not enough young learners coming through to replace them.

Senior Traffic Commissioner Beverley Bell has called for the government to act swiftly to avoid delays to vital road deliveries.

In her annual report, she says: “This driver shortage is limiting the haulage industry’s ability to deliver high-quality services and this growing problem needs to be addressed.

“This is having an adverse impact on the British economy and it shows no signs of improving.”

She added: “I regard it as vital that action is taken by the government and industry to address this shortage before it starts to have an even greater impact on the movement of goods and people across Great Britain and beyond.”

British hauliers currently rely on about 60,000 foreign drivers to keep their fleets on the road.

But as Brexit gets closer, the number of truckers is declining as EU migrant drivers head home because of exchange rates.

Lorry firms say young people are being put off becoming a “knight of the road” by the £3,000 training and licencing fees.

They want the government to ease the burden by stumping up £3.5 million to support lorry-driver apprenticeships and claim it would save taxpayers £30 million in the long run.

Road Haulage Association boss Richard Burnett said: “The industry is doing all it can to promote itself as an excellent employment opportunity.

“Yet without financial support from the government, and without drivers, the industry on which the rest of the economy is so dependent will be going nowhere.”

Bosses are also appealing to women but fear many are put off by the poor state of truck stop loos at motorway and roadside services.

 A shortage of qualified HGV drivers threatens the boom in trade predicted once we have shaken off the EU's shackles
 
 Truckers are key to keeping the economy moving, but there aren't nearly enough of them

One in 12 trucks caught using emission cheat devices in DVSA clampdown

One in 12 trucks checked in a DVSA clampdown last year were found to be using emission cheat devices.

The DVSA carried out roadside checks of 3,735 trucks at five locations across Great Britain between August and the end of November 2017 and found 293 trucks with a cheat device fitted.

Of the 1,784 vehicles registered from mainland Britain that were checked by the DVSA, 151 (8.5%) were fitted with emission cheat devices.

DVSA also stopped 1,657 vehicles from outside of the UK, 82 of which contained cheat devices (5%).

While just 294 trucks from Northern Ireland were stopped, 60 (20%) were found to have devices fitted, a fact singled out by DVSA in its report.

The drivers and operators were given 10 days to fix the emissions system, or face a £300 fine and having the vehicle taken off the road.

Where a driver or operator repeatedly offends, DVSA can take the vehicle off the road immediately.

Cheat devices cut the cost of operating, but give false emissions readings that can result in the release of excessive emissions into the atmosphere. This can be done by using devices designed to stop emissions control systems from working, removing the diesel particulate filter or trap, using illegal engine modifications which result in excessive emissions or removing or bypassing the exhaust gas recirculation valve.

Following the roadside checks, DVSA examiners are inspecting more than 100 operators’ vehicle fleets for emission cheat devices. Some of the companies being inspected operate up to 80 vehicles.

DVSA is passing its findings on to the Traffic Commissioners for Great Britain, who have the power to take away an operator’s licence.

Gareth Llewellyn, DVSA chief executive, said: “DVSA’s priority is to protect you from unsafe drivers and vehicles.

“We are committed to taking dangerous lorries off Britain’s roads. Stopping emissions fraud is a vital part of that.

“Anyone who flouts the law is putting the quality of our air and the health of vulnerable people, at risk. We won’t hesitate to take action against these drivers, operators and vehicles.”

Richard Turfitt, senior traffic commissioner, said: “Use of these devices threatens to undercut responsible and compliant operators as well as damaging the environment and public health.

“Traffic Commissioners will look to take action wherever an operator seeks an unfair and illegal advantage over the rest of industry.”