FTA wins assurances so that Scotland is not closed for business during severe winter weather

Thursday 16 December 2010

Following urgent consultation with Transport Scotland, Central Scotland Police and the Scottish government, FTA has won assurances that should mean the conditions which effectively rendered Scotland closed for business in recent weeks, will not be repeated. Most importantly, FTA has been assured that lorries will only be parked up or ‘stacked’ as a last resort while roads are gritted.

FTA has now received the following assurances from the Scottish government that:

  • We (the Scottish government) recognises that Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) are victims of weather disruption too. That's why it is important that we all work together to minimise any potential disruption for all travellers.
  • We realise that freight/HGV drivers can play a crucial part in this, not only in keeping us informed of any issues as they happen but also in terms of keeping the network moving and we also recognise the particularly crucial role they play in respect of essential deliveries of food and fuel. 
  • This plan is merely building on what presently exists in that the police can direct any vehicle in a way that facilitates the smooth running of the network. In this particular case what we’re asking is that if directed by the police, HGVs pull over to the hard shoulder for a short period to allow gritting and ploughing operations to be undertaken so that all vehicles can then return safely to the network. 
  • Stacking of HGVs would only be undertaken under police direction and if conditions warrant it in order to allow more effective treatment of the road. HGVs would be pulled over for as short a period of time as possible and only until conditions allow for them to return to the main carriageway.
  • Transport Scotland has implemented a number of measures aimed at keeping traffic flowing including salt/sand grit supplies on standby at known problem areas, heavy recovery vehicles to assist HGVs at no cost, using all available resources to further enhance our winter maintenance plant and a multi-agency approach to speed up co-ordination and deployment of resources.

FTA feels these measures will help the logistics sector to overcome the backlog during this period of bad weather and peak demand. Huge delays on the road and rail network have already cost Scotland dearly with key export earners suffering from a severely disrupted supply chain which is many weeks behind schedule.

Chris MacRae, FTA’s Head of Policy for Scotland, said:

“We are delighted that the Scottish government is now working with industry to keep Scotland moving. We have briefed Parliament ahead of its debate tomorrow and have recommended that measures appropriate to the whole supply chain, not just trucks, are applied in the best interests of the logistics sector and the businesses and, indeed, the consumers that rely on it.”

With over 1,000 members in Scotland, FTA has been working with Scottish government to paint an accurate picture of the severe weather crisis that brought much of Scotland to a standstill.

MacRae concluded:

“Lorries do not generally jack-knife on gritted roads, so FTA’s survey on jack-knifing incidents will help industry and government alike get a better handle on what went wrong during the worst of the weather, and will help inform a rational dialogue that will go some way to ensuring the situation we have endured is not repeated.”

Notes for editors

For further information, contact FTA’s Head of Policy for Scotland Chris MacRae on cmacrae@fta.co.uk or 07818 450353.

FTA Press Office

01892 552255