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Policy wins and campaign highlights – May 2021
Key wins and campaign highlights from the Logistics UK Policy team.
New trading relationship with the EU
Logistics UK has been campaigning both directly and indirectly with the European Parliament about the logistics sector's need for a workable UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA). MEPs approved the UK-EU TCA on 26 April, thus concluding the ratification process. The agreement, which was in provisional application since 31 December 2020, has now formally entered into force. This paves the way for the creation of the joint cooperation bodies (trade specialised committees, partnership council) where UK and EU officials will raise those matters that are relevant to the proper implementation of the agreement.
NI Skills Group
Following Logistics UK's response to a NI Department for Economy (DfE) inquiry, the DfE is now considering opening up some sector-specific apprenticeship schemes for all ages. This would mean a candidate older than 25 years could take part in a fully funded apprenticeship for certain sectors. The DfE has also invited Logistics UK to join the Task and Finish Project Team to evaluate these proposals and help agree the most beneficial options going forward.
Connected and Autonomous Vehicles
Following engagement between Logistics UK's Innovation Working Group and the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicle team, a government consultation that was originally supposed to focus on Zero-Emission Automated Logistics (ZEAL) has now been widened to cover Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CAM).
Skills – driver shortage
Logistics UK continues to press for urgent action from government to help the industry with the acute shortage of HGV drivers. Following our call to HM Treasury in the Budget, we have met senior Department for Transport officials to ensure they appreciate the gravity of the situation. We have also developed new contacts at the Department for Education and will be engaging with them to seek out additional training funding for members. Finally, we are working on a joint webinar with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to explain how members can best attract out-of-work people to join the sector; DWP will also be joining our Employment Action Group in mid-May to discuss these issues with members. In addition, we have raised our concerns through the media and landed a prominent piece in the Financial Times focusing on this issue, where a number of operators were also quoted and interviewed. This continues to be our most pressing campaign and members are invited to contact us to find out more.
Environment – Transport Decarbonisation Plan engagement
Logistics UK has continued its engagement with the government ahead of the publication of the Transport Decarbonisation Plan, expected in the coming weeks. Logistics UK held meetings with Transport Minister Rachel Maclean MP and with government officials, to reiterate members’ priority issues. This included the consultation on setting a phase-out date for the sale of new diesel HGVs, which is expected to be published alongside the Transport Decarbonisation Plan. During the discussions, Logistics UK highlighted the need for the date to align with the EU's plans, to ensure manufacturers are able to build to the largest possible market, avoiding unintended consequences. We also repeated our request for the government to provide greater clarity on the future direction of fuels and technologies so operators can invest with confidence. Separately, the government is working on a delivery plan for reaching the phase-out date for new petrol and diesel vans and, following feedback from members, Logistics UK provided input to the government on what a useful plan would look like for our members.
DVSA vocational testing (May)
Logistics UK continues to engage with the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) as we try to claw back the vocational driving tests lost during the previous year of lockdowns. Between March and December 2020, nearly 30,000 LGV driving tests did not take place when compared to average test volumes over the previous five years. This has meant that around 15,000 successful passes – new entrants to the profession – have not come through, and these figures will be added to by the 2021 lockdown. Members are concerned that while the existing backlog persists, the profession of commercial vehicle driver remains barred to potential new entrants to the industry. DVSA is now delivering vocational tests at around double the normal weekly volumes, but Logistics UK has raised concerns about the sustainability of these volumes without more innovative solutions, such as expanding existing delegated testing.
Published On: 13/05/2021 17:00:13