SBC NEWS LETTER 18th March 2020
Our guide to help your business remain compliant during the Covid-19 pandemic. With economic uncertainty, driver shortages, staff sickness and health concerns we will help you tackle the issues most likely to disrupt your business.
London Lorry Control Scheme
As of 17th March, the London Lorry Control Scheme has been suspended following pressure from RHA and FTA. Extending the hours for deliveries will ensure that the capital is better able to cope with panic buying and demands for healthcare items.
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THE FINANCIAL IMPACT
The world is seeing a huge economic crisis stemming from the health crisis and measures put in place by governments to stop the spread of disease. The government has announced a package of measures to assist businesses, ranging from government backed loans, business rates relief and grants. Tax arrangements may be relaxed as well as considerations for mortgage and rent breaks. However, financial standing remains a mandatory requirement to continue to hold an Operator’s Licence. If your business is likely to have issues, the Traffic Commissioner has issued guidance urging Operator’s to apply for a period of grace if problems arise. The rules on production of original documentary evidence will be relaxed in some instances taking into account the limited socialisation guidance and likely closures of business premises. This is the message from the Trade Associations, reiterating the need to allow drivers access to safe toilet and washing facilities. This has been reiterated in a message from Public Health England in a letter dated 17th March.
Temporary Relaxation of Drivers Hours
DfT announced that from 18 March 2020 – 16 April 2020, there is to be a temporary relaxation of drivers’ hours rules for those involved in the supply of food and essential non-food items including over the counter pharmaceuticals, household paper and cleaning items. This is limited to deliveries between stores, warehouses, distribution centres and suppliers. The daily rest requirement is reduced from 11 hours to 9 hours, daily driving limit is increased to 11 hours. The weekly driving limit is increased to 60 hours and the fortnightly is increased to 96 hours. The 45 minute break can now be taken after 5.5 hours’ of driving instead of 4.5. All driving undertaken under the new relaxed rules must be properly recorded and the reasons for using the relaxation noted on a print out, as usually required in an emergency situation. Transport planners must use these measures only where necessary and must ensure that safety is not compromised.
A TRANSPORT MANAGER MUST HAVE FULL AND EFFECTIVE CONTROL relating to the transport activities and compliance of a Standard Licence holder. With the rules on self-isolation and anticipated levels of infection, many businesses will see a Transport Manager absent. This may be a short period of isolation from the business which would not need to be notified, but in longer periods of absence, the Traffic Commissioner must be informed. The Traffic Commissioner will need to know how the Transport Manager’s duties are being fulfilled by others and can grant a period of grace to allow for the return to work.
1 An operator seeking a period of grace must proactively apply.
2 Operators must understand that it, upon the expiration of a Period of Grace, the requirement has not been fulfilled, the operator’s licence will have to be revoked. Temporary relaxation of drivers’ hours