This year has been interesting and challenging, but once more the RHA has been particularly effective in representing its members.
It is a pleasure to list just some of our achievements. In no particular order, there is no doubt that we established effective liaison with Transport for London (TfL) in promoting our sector in the run-up to the Olympics and we have developed a much improved relationship with the Department for Transport (DfT) and a better working relationship with the Deputy Senior Traffic Commissioner and VOSA.
We were delighted with the Commercial Vehicle Show’s success and were equally delighted to show Transport Minister Mike Penning around as our guest. Furthermore, Penning’s decision to allow full service truckstops on motorways was a direct result of our campaigning. We also persuaded the DfT to introduce extensive relaxations to the enforcement of drivers’ hour’s rules because of last winter’s severe weather.
It was a pleasure to see the inclusion of several RHA lobby points in the DfT’s road safety strategy, including reducing the time the police take to investigate serious accidents on motorways. We have also been pushing the case for recovery operators to be able to use red lights and hope this will bring results early in the new year.
Other positive news from the RHA’s work representing the industry include raising the profile of fuel theft in the press and other media, and successfully arguing against the introduction of mandatory carbon reporting as a requirement of haulage contracts with large aggregates companies.
One area where we have seen real success is in our objections to four Operator Licence applications, including one of Ireland’s largest hauliers. The RHA stands out in having a policy of exercising our statutory right to object in the public interest and this is something we will continue to pursue whenever we have clear evidence that can support a formal objection.
We continue to develop the many services we provide to members and expand the benefits that members have simply because they have joined our Association. Our new-look website is a great improvement on what was already a great asset to the RHA and one feature of the site – the Find-a-Load section – is being improved.
We also launched RHA Smart Safety, which has been well received by those members who have taken advantage of the service, and our new Red Flag credit checking facility – which offers exceptionally good value for money – includes a number of checks which are free for RHA members. RHA Training continues to offer the very high quality service for which it has become known and in 2011 I was delighted when we completed ISO9002 accreditation for that aspect of our activity.
Finally, a review of 2011 would not be complete without reference to FairFuel UK. As a result of our campaigning in early 2011, every litre of fuel bought since 1 April has been five pence cheaper than it would have been, and we have just seen Parliament unanimously agree that fuel price increases must be avoided.
The year started with one success on fuel duty. Now we have another and pledges of infrastructure investment on deregulation. Your RHA helped to achieve this.