The EU Commission has granted a further relaxation of the EU drivers’ hours regulations for HGV operators, forced to take alternative routes as a result of the continued closure of the Forth Road Bridge.
The move is a result of evidence submitted by the Road Haulage Association (RHA).
“This is a common-sense decision and one that the industry, particularly our Scottish members, will welcome”, said RHA Director for Scotland, Martin Reid. “We were stunned at the news that the Bridge is to remain closed to HGVs until mid-February, despite opening to other road users on 22 December.
“The additional cost of the continued closure to hauliers, already working to very tight margins, has been extremely high,” Martin Reid continued. “One of our long-standing members tells that the detour to cross from one side of the river to the other adds an extra hour each way in journey time alone and approximately £90 in additional fuel costs.
“Obviously the relaxation of drivers’ hours regulations will help our members get the job done, but the added fuel costs are really beginning to bite. Scotland is economically dependent upon an efficient supply chain network. The decision by the operators of the Bridge was made on safety grounds and we welcome the speed at which the problem and subsequent repairs were addressed. However, we would urge that the further strengthening work to enable hauliers to resume their use of the Bridge are completed as quickly as possible.”