May 29, 2011
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This meeting, Chaired by Rob Flello MP, considered a number of current issues, starting with a proposal for the insurance industry to make the Motor Insurance Database available to the Police at the site of crashes. The Police could then contact the insurer who would ensure that an operator’s preferred recovery company is called out whenever possible, and would deal with such issues as special loads including livestock or dangerous goods. The insurer would also be able to contact the insured – if not at the site – allowing a claim to be opened much quicker than normally. The insurance company would then be better place to limit any additional costs that would inevitably be passed on to the operator. This could have real benefits for hauliers, as it may reduce the cost of recoveries and storage.
The meeting then went on to discuss the issue of foreign vehicles and steps that might be taken to address the imbalance between the UK and other EU countries’ vehicle operating costs. It is clear that the Government are keen to make some progress with the Coalition’s aim to tackle the issue of unfair competition from foreign hauliers, but that the scope for action is limited. Previous efforts to design an effective Lorry Road User Charging Scheme proved unsuccessful so the DfT is now looking at a time-based scheme that will impose charges on a daily, weekly, monthly and annual basis. The RHA has always maintained that any scheme must be simple to operate and cost neutral as far as UK companies are concerned. We expect formal consultation on the Government’s proposals to start this summer.
Finally, the meeting discussed the challenges that result from the Olympics next year. This massive event – and the associated events such as the Queens Diamond Jubilee and the Paralympic Games – will bring significant disruption to the streets of London for several months next year and trade and industry must start planning now to deal with it. A large number of issues were addressed, including the limited road space that will be available because of the Olympic Route Network, the substantial number of temporary and amended loading and access restrictions that will apply, the need for consignees to be aware of limits that the delivery industry will be subject to and the difficulties that recovery companies will face in getting to incidents. Transport for London, who are now responsible to making the transport network work during this period, have assured RHA that they are aware of the concerns being expressed and will be working very hard to resolve them as soon as possible.