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Bradford Rotary

It was lovely to support my father and Bradford Rotary on Friday 8 December when I delivered a talk entitled ‘An introduction to the world of transport and the life of a woman in transport’. My father has been a member of Bradford rotary since I was a child. I am used to listening to him giving hilarious fabulous talks, so it was strange for the tables to be turned. We both had a tear in our eye as I paid homage the support my parents have given me – my father responsible for my business ethics, principles and teaching me how to barter! My mother the strong voice of defiance against the imposter syndrome, from which most women suffer!

Did you know: Department of transport figures reveal that we are most influenced between the ages of 1 and 5 years old. Very few children will draw a woman when they are asked to draw a truck driver. Girls are influenced by their mothers and teachers to take up nurturing jobs such as nursing or teaching. For this reason only 8% of the transport and logistics industry workforce is female.

20th December 2017

Leeds Clean Air Zone (CAZ)

In a bid to cut emissions Leeds City Council announced plans to charge trucks and taxis entering the Leeds Clean Air Zone (CAZ). The proposed tax for trucks is £100.00 per day for vehicles that do not meet the Euro V1 standard, to come into force in 2020. Given that small hauliers are the backbone of our economy and the average life cycle of a truck is 10 years, this could result in the closure of many small operators, who simply will not be able to afford new trucks , the cost to upgrade or the crippling fines.  It most definitely will result in an increase in transport costs.

Did you know:  90% of everything we eat, drink consume, comes on the back of a lorry?  In 2015, HGVs accounted for just 10% of total NOx emissions. Between 2014 and the end of 2016, NOx emissions from HGVs reduced by a third. 

18th December 2017

RHA Northern Region Dinner – Harrogate

All work and no play, makes the Freightlink Europe team, dull and boring, so we donned our glad rags for the RHA dinner at The Majestic Hotel in Harrogate.

20th November 2017

Earned Recognition update

DVSA advised that as from 31 January 2018 DVSA examiners would no longer stop vehicles of operators taking part in the earned recognition pilot scheme and that site visits would also be less likely – great news for operators who have committed time and effort to this project

Industry is putting so much pressure on operators now to comply with a variety of standards, not without cost, that it is hard to know what to do – FORS, CLOCS and now Earned Recognition! As opposed to FORS, which in my view focusses on documents and procedures, with no evidence of adherence to the same, Earned Recognition focusses on evidence of compliance with operators’ licence Undertakings. As Undertakings are linked to safety on our roads, this must be better for the transport industry, allowing the professional operators to get on with their work and the allowing the DVSA to focus on the serially and seriously non-compliant. It gets a thumbs up from me.

A list of operators taking part in the earned recognition scheme shall be publish on the GOV.UK website in January 2018  DVSA confirmed that this decision has been taken in recognition of participating hauliers’ commitment to meet driver and vehicle standards.

20th November 2017

Toilets for truckers

Well done to campaigners who have won the right for lorry drivers to use the toilets at non domestic premises. After it was widely reported that drivers had been refused access to welfare facilities at several major companies, the Health and Safety Executive finally reviewed its approach towards companies refusing to give  HGV drivers toilet access.

It is hard to believe that some companies were refusing drivers the basic right to use a toilet!!

20th November 2017

BBC report increase in tachograph tampering

The BBC reported a rise in lorry tachograph tampering on UK roads.   Over 440 lorries coming to the UK last year were found with manipulated tachographs, with the DVSA believing actual numbers to be much higher

Did you know:  DVSA carried out 223,000 roadside checks between April 2016 and March 2017.  There was a 21% increase in the number of drivers found with manipulated tachographs compared to the previous year.

I feel passionate about exposing drivers/companies who flout the law, breach tachograph rules and use magnets to disable the tachograph. Not only is this unfair competition, but such companies/drivers are a danger on the road and bring our industry into disrepute.

20th November 2017

Women Changemaker Awards

I was thrilled to be invited to the first ever Inspiring Women Changemaker Awards at the Aspir-igen centre in Bradford.  The centre supports young people in their career choice and development.  Food for the evening was prepared by young people looking for a career in catering and the Midland Hotel provided drinks upon arrival and post event drinks.  I never cease to be impressed by the actions of young people and women who have come from humble beginnings.  The awards were the brainchild of Anj Handa, a business woman, speaker and writer who is passionate about making positive social change.  I was in awe of her and haven’t hesitated in connecting with her on LinkedIn to keep in touch.  I’m looking forward to having a coffee together in the new year.  Her current projects include working to end gender-based violence, including female genital mutilation and forced marriage.

20th November 2017

First Aider

Well done Andrew for passing his Emergency First Aid at work level 3 course!

Freightlink Europe decided to put all our office boys through emergency first aid.  You never know when there could be an accident at work, when we need to look after one another.

20th November 2017

Fines for weekend breaks in cabs

The DVSA announced that, in line with European counterparts, as from 1 November 2017 they would commence fining drivers for spending full weekend rests in cabs away from formal rest areas. The penalties include a fixed penalty notice of £300 (UK drivers) or a financial penalty deposit for non-UK drivers, a prohibition on the driver until a full weekly rest is properly taken and operators to be reported to the licensing authority.

I continue to be surprised at the number of operators who are happy for their drivers to spend their ‘night out’ in a layby, with little regard for the safety of the driver, the vehicle or customers’ goods.  This decision by DVSA will at least ensure that companies facilitate a driver’s ability to take the weekend rest in a reasonably secure area with facilities for the driver.  However services are often noisy, restricting a driver’s ability to get a good night’s sleep, and have a limited amount of space  Let’s hope that the decision from DVSA will will encourage more action to promote improved motorway services and additional HGV secure parking!

20th November 2017

Company directors need to support their transport managers

At the RHA Compliance Seminar newly appointed Senior Traffic Commissioner Richard Turfitt said that the whole weight of the O Licence should not lie with the transport managers but that directors must lead and be clear about what they want.

This remark was echoed at the RHA northern region briefing by new traffic commissioner for the north east, Tim Blackmore. who said, “Transport Managers need the support of a good boss.”

Is this an indication of traffic commissioners’ expectations of operators in future?

20th October 2017

Protect and Prepare Seminar

It’s frightening the number of terrorist attacks which have taken place this year, especially those involving trucks. We all think, ‘it couldn’t happen to us’, but it could.

I attended a seminar held by Backhouse Jones transport solicitors and a representative from the Centre for Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI), where the various type of vehicle borne threats were discussed.

What would you do if one of your vehicles/drivers was involved in a terrorist attack?

Do you have an action plan?

Do you thoroughly reference check your drivers and their entitlement to work in UK?

I’m looking at including this subject in a driver CPC course and a breakfast seminar – please email me at Lesley@freightinkeurope.co.uk if you would like me to send you an invite to this event.

Did you know: The current threat level is SEVERE

There’s a hotline to report anything you’ve heard that could identify a terrorist threat – 0800 789 321

20th October 2017

Load Security

Always a hot topic, in October the DVSA updated guidance for load security
https://www.freight-train.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/DVSA-Load-Securing-2017.pdf

The basic facts remain:

1. Vehicles used should be fit for purpose
2. Goods should be safely secured to the base of the vehicle
3. Security systems (i.e. ratchet straps) should be sufficient, load bearing and fit for purpose
4. Gaps over 80 mm should be filled
5. Where possible (respecting axle and vehicle weights) goods should be loaded to the headboard
6. Internal straps are for stabilizing, not securing
7. Keep the centre of gravity as low as possible – don’t load heavy goods on top of light goods
8. Communication is key – ensure drivers are aware of the load, security and requirements.

Customers are provided with Freightlink Europe’s safe loading policy on an annual basis. I don’t want to tempt fate, but we are proud of our safety record.

20th October 2017

Safe Coupling Operations

In October an Essex based haulage firm was fined £170,000 and ordered to pay £6,268.80, when an employee suffered fatal injuries when his vehicle rolled forward out of control whilst he was coupling an HGV tractor to a trailer. The company was prosecuted under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974

Did you know:  that companies with 5 employees or more must have documented risk assessments, the results of which must be communicated to employees. Coupling operations pose a major hazard and safe systems of work should be in place to protect employees. Both vehicle and trailer brakes should be applied during coupling operations

20th October 2017

HMRC gets tax avoidance advisors

I’ve been banging the drum for months about the issues surrounding the so called ‘self employed’ driver. HMRC are clear that it is very rare that a driver can be considered self-employed unless they are an owner driver (i.e. having their own truck and operator’s licence). In October it was announced that the HMRC are taking action against accountancy firms set up to advise hauliers and drivers on how to avoid paying tax.

Did you know: On 30 September a new corporate criminal offence was introduced whereby companies can be found guilty of failure to prevent the criminal facilitation of tax evasion. If convicted a business will face unlimited fines in respect of the acts of its employees!

In the RHA Roadway magazine, November edition, head of policy Rod McKenzie discussed the problems of ‘umbrella schemes’ once again highlighting the position of HMRC.

“in the eyes of the tax people unless the driver actually uses their own vehicle and has their own ‘O’ licence, they are not self-employed. If you are telling them to drive your vehicle and when and where they are required to do deliveries they are – in HMRC’s eyes – employed. That means PAYE and NI back payments would be applied to the money they earn. If you get this wrong, as employers you could be faced with a hefty bill for PAYE and NI back payments plus interests and penalties.” Ouch!!

On the other side of the coin a BBC documentary on 9 October 2017 reported how drivers working under the auspices of an umbrella company had been stung as the company failed to pay over VAT as part of the accountancy firm’s tax dodge!

20th October 2017

A plus for diversity as Thomas the Tank Engine introduces two female trains to storylines

Henry and Edward make way for Nia and Rebecca!

Mattel the US toy giant who owns the rights to Thomas the Tank Engine collaborated with the UN on storylines featuring five of the UN goals – equality, education, gender equality, sustainability, responsible consumption and life on land – not that much different from transport priorities.

20th October 2017

HerGV

Did you know: only 2% of HGV drivers are women?

In an attempt to encourage more women to take to the wheel She’s RHA joined Pertemps and the M6 Toll to launch a Campaign for one lucky lady to win £3000 of training to gain an HGV licence. I was privileged to be invited to join the judging panel. Judging took place at the M6 Toll centre. Applicants had to send a 3 minute video of why they should be chosen – what fun we had. Emma Walker was announced at a fun event at Drayton Manor Hotel and Park, massive congratulations Emma!

Did you know:  When you consider congestion delays on the M6 and the impact on drivers’ hours and fuel consumption, it could be more time and cost efficient to take the M6 toll!

20th October 2017

A visit to Silverstone

Tom, Freightlink Europe Transport Manager, and I had a great day out at Silverstone where we learnt of future innovations and transport solutions for our industry. Not only did I manage to persuade Verilocation’s to support She’s RHA, but they also promised to look into a solution for KPI reporting for the DVSA Earned Recognition scheme – a stumbling block for many operators.

20th October 2017

Driver Assessor

We were so proud of our newest office recruit Sean Abson, who completed his Driver Assessor course. Sean now assesses all new drivers prior to employment and carries out an annual assessments of all existing drivers. Our focus is always on safety and staying safe on the road.

20th October 2017

Love the lorry week

 As part of the annual Love the Lorry week and in support of She’s RHA, Autotrader hosted an event to discuss the opportunities for women in transport and the positives of a diverse workforce. Autotrader has absolutely embraced the idea of diversity and inclusion. Its whole culture supports and promotes inclusion and making work fun.   I was joined by fellow She’s RHA member Caroline, Wattley, RHA project manager.

Did you know:   If the number of women in our industry increased by 10000 next year, still less than 8.5% of the workforce would be women

20th September 2017

HMRC concession on overnight allowance

 In April HMRC alarmed the industry by revoking the tax free night out agreement for HGV drivers. This meant that, unless hauliers had a bespoke agreement in place with HMRC, they had to start taxing drivers on night out subsistence. However, even with an agreement in place, operators were required to provide receipts to evidence the amount spent and paid.

The RHA took up the plight of its membership and in September HMRC conceded that providing a bespoke agreement was in place, hauliers would only have to:

  • Maintain a record of nights out
  • sample a percentage of drivers
  • obtain random ad hoc receipts from drivers

Did you know: Hauliers who have not agreed a bespoke agreement should be taxing drivers’ on nights out

Application for bespoke agreement:

https://public-online.hmrc.gov.uk/lc/content/xfaforms/profiles/forms.html?contentRoot=repository:///Applications/PersonalTax_iForms/1.0/BIK&template=BIK.xdp

20th September 2017
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