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Government and industry will join forces to upgrade 38 truckstops across the country

The government is improving dozens of truck stops across the country, following months of campaigning by trade groups.

Supply chains and logistics trade bodies have for months been asking for better and safer roadside facilities amid reports of “unlawful” work conditions and mounting freight crime.

Roads minister Guy Opperman has now confirmed government and industry will join forces to upgrade 38 truck stops thanks to a £16.5m investment through the HGV parking and driver welfare grant scheme.

Improvements would include new showers and restaurants, and better lighting and secure fencing in rest areas, the Department for Transport said.

Opperman added: “Our lorry drivers are the backbone of a successful economy, ensuring food, goods and crucial medical supplies can get where they need to be, all over the country.

“That’s why it’s only right we leave no stone unturned when it comes to supporting our lorry drivers as part of our plan to grow the economy, and today’s £16.5m in joint government and industry funding will provide them with the safe, spacious and modern facilities they deserve.”

The Road Haulage Association welcomed the announcement, adding that better facilities, and more safer and secure parking for truckers was its “key priority”.

Nearly two-thirds of HGV drivers are dissatisfied with both the quality and number of available parking facilities in the country, a survey by the RHA showed.

Read more: Britain’s cargo theft crisis: why crime is rising on UK roads

“We are delighted to see the government’s match-funded grant scheme being awarded to projects which will make a tangible difference to the experiences of lorry drivers and provide much needed additional parking capacity to address the well-known shortage of spaces”, said RHA director of policy & public affairs Declan Pang.

“We are pleased to see facilities operators contribute funding and commit to improving security and conditions at the sites they operate. We look forward to seeing the positive impact the funding will have across the range of projects.”

The logistics body had been selected to lead a new government taskforce on roadside facilities just last month.

The taskforce will vouch for new lorry and coach parking to areas of the country most in need of additional parking capacity, and work with local government to attract investment and get planning approved swiftly.

Britain’s reduced numbers of truck parking spaces has been an issue for a number of years, with the RHA estimating a current shortage of around 11,000 spaces.

This has often forced drivers to park at roadside stops that lack any infrastructure or safety measures – leaving them at risk from criminals at a time when fuel and cargo theft from trucks is rapidly increasing, as The Grocer recently reported.

“Providing more safe and secure truck stops, through reformed planning rules and a focus on the highest security standards across the board, will help this situation, as will a review of sentencing guidelines so the impact of freight crime is properly considered – a deterrent for criminals and taking away their opportunities to act”, RHA policy manager Ashton Cull added.

“Feeling safe at work is the default for nearly all of us. We all need to do more to ensure it’s also the default for lorry drivers.”