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Truck Stops

Volume 177: debated on Monday 23 July 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what help has been given by his Department to truck-stops situated beside motorways and major trunk roads regarding signing to allow them to attract service from motorways and trunk roads and compete with motorway service areas; and if he will make a statement.

On motorways, the general policy is to sign only motorway service areas, but signs to truckstops and other off-route facilities will be allowed in special circumstances, in particular where there is no service area within a reasonable distance. There are overriding road safety reasons for limiting the numbers of signs to be read by motorway users, and operators of off-route facilities can identify conveniently the junctions to use for reaching them by quoting their number in their publicity material.On other roads, signs to truckstops are acceptable subject to criteria relating to safety and the nature of services on offer. Advice on these criteria has been made available to local highway authorities which also have a discretion to allow signing to local destinations.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on the provision of services for truck drivers as defined under section 115 of the Highways Act 1980 in the United Kingdom and similar provision in France and other European countries.

Except in Northern Ireland, which has a limited length of motorway, our aim on motorways is to ensure that service areas are available at which all motorway users can rest and obtain fuel and refreshments without leaving the motorway. The parking areas and associated facilities at these sites are designed to meet demands from all roads users, including lorry drivers.For other trunk roads the policy is to rely primarily on private initiative to provide facilities to meet needs. In areas, however, where there are clear deficiencies of services we are encouraging joint action with local highway authorities to identify sites for comprehensive provision of services.Her Majesty's Government have no responsibility for service provision in other European countries. It is understood that the arrangements vary considerably from country to country. In France, however, and other western European countries the initiative to provide facilities lies largely with the private sector within the framework of control by highway and other authorities.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many of the specialist facilities as laid down by section 115 of the Highways Act 1980 for lorry traffic are provided for lorry drivers by highway authorities in the United Kingdom; and how many have been provided by the private sector.

Information is not available on the total number of facilities provided by highway authorities and the private sector respectively. Needs on motorways are catered for by motorway service areas.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps his Department has taken to improve the specialist services for commercial vehicle drivers on Britain's motorways and major trunk roads, as suggested by the Prior committee.

The Prior committee was concerned with motorway service areas (MSAs) only. At such areas we now encourage operators, where feasible, to allow for overnight (as well as daytime) parking of lorries. Almost all operators now permit this. At new MSAs we require provision of showers and shaver points, and encourage provision of separate catering facilities for lorry drivers. Where MSAs are modernised, we invite operators to make similar provision.On other trunk roads, the policy is to rely primarily on private initiative to provide the facilities needed. However, the Department has discussed with both the local authority associations and representatives of the main oil companies and caterers the need for local joint planning exercises to identify suitable sites. The guidance note attached to the Department's circular roads 4/88 on "The Control of Development on Trunk Roads", issued in November 1988, sets out advice on the desirability of establishing a comprehensive range of services including fuel, refreshments, toilets and parking facilities, together with parking for heavy goods vehicles, at intervals of between 12 and 25 miles.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what specialist facilities for commercial vehicles are provided at the new Thurrock motorway service area.

The full basic range of services is available now at Thurrock MSA to all motorway users. Catering is being provided from temporary buildings pending completion of permanent facilities. When the main amenity building is completed in 1991, there will be a separate dining area for drivers of commercial vehicles and separate shower, shaving and toilet facilities.