RAC smart motorway survey

RAC smart motorway survey

22.9.2021 | Logistics

RAC smart motorway survey

Majority of drivers think all-lane-running smart motorways should be scrapped.

Six in 10 drivers (62%) think that all-lane-running smart motorway schemes should be scrapped entirely and the hard shoulder reinstated, while retaining the technology that manages traffic flows and detects breakdowns, according to research carried out for the RAC Report on Motoring 2021.

Only a quarter of the 2,600-plus drivers (24%) surveyed by the RAC support the continuation of current government policy, which is to stick to four permanent running lanes and no hard shoulder, while increasing the number of emergency refuge areas and including extra technology to detect stationary vehicles and cameras to catch motorists who put others at risk by ignoring closed-lane signs.

Overall, most drivers (63%) do not believe the measures being implemented by National Highways to compensate for the removal of the hard shoulder – such as variable speed limits in response to incidents or to control traffic flow, closed-lane signs, SOS emergency refuge areas up to every 1.6 miles apart and technology to detect slowing or stationary vehicles – are adequate. Just 15% stated they thought they were adequate, with a fifth (21%) unsure.

The RAC research also indicates a sharp increase in safety concerns about smart motorways with 24% of drivers citing this as one of their top overall motoring concerns, up from 16% last year. Drivers over 65 expressed the most concern about the issue, with 44% listing it as their top concern. Less than half of drivers (43%) who have driven on all-lane running stretches of motorway feel safe on them, while 30% say they don’t feel very safe and a quarter (24%) state they feel ‘very unsafe’.

The fear of what would happen in the event of a breakdown on an all-lane-running motorway clearly weighs heavy on drivers’ minds with 84% believing that safety is compromised by the permanent removal of the hard shoulder – up from 67% when drivers were last asked this in the 2019 RAC Report on Motoring.

More than six-in-10 (63%) of drivers think the typical distance between SOS areas of up to 1.6 miles/2.5km is too great, up from 55% in 2019 which explains why eight-in-10 (79%) worry they will be unable to reach one if they broke down, up from 70% in 2019. And, despite National Highways’ ‘Go Left’ campaign introduced in March 2021, less than half of drivers (46%) say they know what to do in the event of breaking down in a live lane, almost unchanged on the 2019 figure (49%).

Drivers also lack confidence in the authorities’ ability to respond to live-lane breakdowns or incidents. Just 30% of motorists say they trust National Highways’ abilities to detect a stationary vehicle in a running lane and react accordingly, down sharply from 53% in 2019, while only 54% say the majority of drivers obey red ‘closed-lane’ signs which are used to keep traffic out of lanes where a breakdown or other incident has occurred, down from 60% two years ago.

RAC head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes said:

“Our research reveals the enormous strength of feeling among drivers of all ages about the safety of all-lane-running smart motorways. But while there’s support for scrapping these motorways across all age groups, it’s highest among those aged 45 and over, with 73% wanting to see the end of these schemes.

“We’ve always had safety concerns about all-lane-running motorways and have raised these by giving evidence to two separate Transport Committee inquiries. While the Government published its 18-point action plan in 2020, the RAC has continued to push for new safety features to be introduced as quickly as possible. Although much of the plan is on track and the installation of crucial stopped vehicle detection technology is now due to be completed ahead of schedule, it seems the only thing that will truly satisfy most drivers is the re-instatement of the hard shoulder.

“The Government is therefore faced with a difficult choice between continuing to roll out unpopular all-lane-running motorways very much against drivers’ wishes or reinstating the hard shoulder, effectively creating three-lane ‘controlled motorways’ which would have the benefit of improved safety features but with less overall capacity.

“The RAC, however, believes there’s a third option worth considering which provides increased capacity without adversely compromising safety. Rather than simply scrapping dynamic hard shoulder schemes, which only open the hard shoulder to traffic at busy times of the day, these schemes could be made the new standard as they still offer somewhere to stop away from live traffic in the event of a breakdown during quieter times, while still accommodating more traffic at busy times. They have also demonstrated very good levels of safety. What’s more, all the technology that’s been installed for all-lane-running would continue to be of valuable use, making dynamic hard shoulder schemes even safer.

“Arguably, all that would be needed is to repaint the sold white hard shoulder line and potentially some additional gantry signs. We would also like to see the ‘red X’ closed-lane symbol illuminated whenever the hard shoulder is not being used as a running lane alongside variable message signs indicating the hard shoulder is for emergency use only so drivers clearly know it’s not in use. That way there is no confusion and anyone who has to stop due to a breakdown or incident is likely to be better protected.”

FPUA members finalists in 2021 Multimodal awards

FPUA members finalists in 2021 Multimodal awards

22.9.2021 | Logistics

FPUA fellows finalists in 2021 Multimodal awards

Felixstowe Port Users’ Association members epitomise the region’s success stories.

The Felixstowe Port Users’ Association (FPUA) would like to wish all its shortlisted members good luck in the 2021 Multimodal Awards.

FPUA Chairman Jason Flower said: “The Multimodal Awards are one of the highlights of the year for the logistics industry, both from a celebratory and networking perspective. It recognises excellence in air, road, rail, maritime, and freight forwarding services, and it is heartening to see a number of our FPUA members as finalists, which epitomises some of our region’s biggest success stories.”

The 2021 Multimodal Awards are nominated and voted for by the industry, for the industry through an independent Awards nomination and voting system. Making them one of the fairest industry Awards.

Finalists include freight leaders from across the modes and ports, pallet networks, and technology companies.

The Multimodal Awards voted-for categories include 3PL of the Year, Air Freight, Rail Freight, Road Freight and Sea Freight Operator of the Year, Pallet Network of the Year, Port Operator and Technology Company of the Year.
The Multimodal Awards voted-for categories include 3PL of the Year, Air Freight, Rail Freight, Road Freight, Sea Freight Operator of the Year, Pallet Network of the Year, and Port Operator and Technology Company of the Year.

Votes can be made online until 28th September 2021.

The winners will be announced at a gala dinner at the VOX NEC on the evening of 19th October 2021, hosted by football legend Kevin Keegan on the first day of the free-to-attend Multimodal show.

FPUA members finalists include: 

Technology Company of the Year
• Fargo Systems Ltd

3PL of the Year
• DB Schenker
• Maersk

Port Operator of the Year
• Port of Felixstowe

Rail Freight Operator of the Year
• Freightliner
• Maritime

Road Freight Operator of the Year
• Goldstar Transport
• Pentalver

Sea Freight Operator of the Year
• Maersk

GB Changes to UK

GB Changes to UK

7.9.2021 | Logistics

GB Changes to UK

The national identifier for UK motorists, including HGVs, travelling abroad changes this month.

This change applies to all vehicles, including HGVs, vans and coaches, and comes into effect from 28 September 2021.

On or after 28 September 2021:

You will need to display a UK sticker clearly on the rear of your vehicle if your number plate has any of the following:

• a GB identifier with the Union flag (also known as the Union Jack)
• a Euro symbol
• a national flag of England, Scotland or Wales
• numbers and letters only – no flag or identifier

If your number plate includes the UK identifier with the Union flag (also known as the Union Jack), you do not need a UK sticker.

If you’re in Spain, Cyprus, or Malta, you must display a UK sticker no matter what is on your number plate.

And if you have a GB sticker, you will need to cover or remove it.

The GOV.UK advice pages – linked below – have been updated and contain new advice:




Find out more here.

Woodland Group Opens New E-Commerce Facility in Colchester

Woodland Group Opens New E-Commerce Facility in Colchester

25.8.2021 | Logistics

Woodland Group Opens New E-Commerce Facility in Colchester

Roll out of national and international warehousing and eCommerce vision.

Thanks to the continued growth of Woodland Group’s Warehouse and Fulfilment business, the global supply chain company has opened a new 45,000 sq ft facility in Marks Tey, Colchester. The new warehouse has been designed to expand capacity by 5,000 pallets, has over 4,000 pick faces dedicated to e-commerce and boasts some of their latest carbon-conscious warehousing initiatives.

Since the Marks Tey location opened its doors to clients in the 1st week of August, Woodland Group have onboarded new customers and brands that will all be operational for the 2021 peak trading period.

The opening of this site has resulted in 10 additional roles to start while also creating opportunities to progress and diversify for Woodland Group’s existing team members.

“It’s a really exciting time for our fulfilment teams and clients, as we further develop the solutions, we’re able to deliver to support forward-thinking businesses in changing eCommerce and supply chain management processes for greater positive impact.”, Kevin Stevens, CEO, commented.

As such, and in line with their most recent facility upgrades and carbon-conscious vision, the new Marks Tey facility features:

• Newly created office and meeting rooms, relaxation areas and social spaces for the team
• The latest li-ion forklift trucks with revolutionary charging system, and battery optimisation for measured energy output based on requirements
• LED lighting with motion sensors reducing energy consumption across the entire facility
• Additional Lorry parking for 40 trucks and modern driver facilities
In addition, Marks Tey is their first location to run:
• A new warehouse waste reduction programme with view to be zero landfill
• Solar panels to power the facility using renewable energy

Woodland Group has invested in a full redesign of their warehouse management system in partnership with TMWare which allows them to deliver a fully paperless, integrated solution that works with all the major shopping carts and retailers allowing for peak order picking in excess of 180,000 B2C orders per month.

The opening of the company’s Marks Tey location is a great stepping stone as Woodland Group rolls out their national and international warehousing and eCommerce vision in line with their aim to create opportunity for clients and communities alike and invest into carbon-conscious solutions that will deliver the sustainable supply chains of tomorrow.

Driver Shortages: Is streamlined driver testing safe?

Driver Shortages: Is streamlined driver testing safe?

11.8.2021 | Haulage


Tim Ridyard, lead transport solicitor from Ashtons Legal shares his insights. 

Everyone operating in the transport sector will be aware of the critical driver shortage issues and the need to find short, medium and long-term solutions to the problem. In tandem with the temporary relaxation of driver’s hours rules, as part of the short-term solution, the Department for Transport has started a consultation about streamlining HGV, bus and car driving testing.

The main new idea is to remove the need to have a separate driving test to draw trailers, clearly significant with regard to articulated lorries or rigid lorries pulling drawbar trailers.

The consultation seeks views on:

• Removing the ‘staging’ requirements for vocational driving licences. This would permit drivers to take a single test to drive both rigid (Cat C) and articulated lorries (Cat C+E), instead of having to pass a rigid lorry, before a further test on an articulated lorry.

• Allowing off-road elements of lorry test (reversing manoeuvres and coupling) to be carried out by authorised third parties other than DVSA examiners.

• Allowing car drivers (Cat B) to tow trailers (Cat BE) without having to take an additional test.

The consultation closes on 7 September 2021. Since its proposals had already been flagged up by the Department for Transport in July 2020, they come as no surprise. Stakeholders have already raised safety concerns, and the consultation repeatedly asks, “do you consider there to be any concerns for road safety should the government implement this?”

It is unclear what risk assessment or analysis has taken place. If the proposed streamlined route was deemed safe, why has it not been introduced before, rather than as a remedy to address driver shortages? Many drivers who have taken their tests in stages feel aggrieved that they have been through the existing procedure, at significant time and cost, only for this possibly to change and allow easier access to C+E licences. They also cite the benefits of gaining good experience under a rigid C licence before progressing to towing.

The cost and complexity of gaining full vocational driving entitlements have been one factor contributing to driver shortages. If driver testing is revised, it may assist with this particular factor. However, it will not assist with other problems such as the reduction in EU drivers post-Brexit and the ageing profile of drivers generally.

The Consultation can be found here.

Tim Ridyard can be contacted on tim.ridyard@ashtonslegal.co.uk or 07484 924834, and you follow him on Twitter @TransportLaw 

Logistics UK launches Route to Net Zero campaign

Logistics UK launches Route to Net Zero campaign

27.7.2021 | Logistics

Logistics UK launches Route to Net Zero campaign

Initiative to decarbonise logistics operations. 

Logistics UK has announced the launch of Route to Net Zero.

A campaign to encourage its 18,000 member businesses to commit to decarbonising their operations as quickly, effectively, and as urgently as possible to help the UK achieve carbon neutrality ahead of the legal deadline of 2050.

Michelle Gardner, Head of Public Policy at Logistics UK, comments: “Logistics UK and its members understand the urgency of the climate crisis and are working hard to decarbonise logistics operations. We are pleased to launch this campaign today to support and encourage the industry’s journey to Net Zero. A key component of this campaign’s success will be getting the right support from government. Logistics UK will be working in partnership with its members and government to help ensure the right policies, infrastructure, power supply, funding and vehicle markets are in place to realise the logistics industry’s Net Zero ambition.”

Logistics UK is now calling on its members to work with the business group to achieve the Route to Net Zero ambition; the organisation will also be launching a comprehensive policy manifesto ahead of COP26 in November 2021. More information on Logistics UK’s environmental campaigns and to get involved, can be found here

Logistics UK is one of the UK’s leading business groups, representing logistics businesses that are vital to keeping the UK trading, and more than seven million people are directly employed in the making, selling and moving of goods. With climate change, COVID-19, Brexit, new technology, and other disruptive forces driving change in the way goods move across borders and through the supply chain, logistics has never been more important to UK plc. Logistics UK supports, shapes and stands up for safe and efficient logistics. It is the only business group representing the whole industry, with members from the road, rail, sea and air industries and freight services buyers such as retailers and manufacturers whose businesses depend on the efficient movement of goods.