Red Tape Challenge

FTA was asked by the Government to represent the logistics sector as part of the drive to reduce bureaucracy with the Red Tape Challenge. The Working Time Directive, the London Lorry Control Scheme and the age limit on vocational drivers were among the areas where FTA told Government time, money and red tape could be cut.

FTA Chief Executive Theo de Pencier said "The often cumbersome regulations and rules that exist in the freight sector are a burden that the companies within it could do without. As 'sector champion' for logistics we saw the Red Tape Challenge as a golden opportunity to put forward our considered views on how to cut red tape, and save the industry time and money.

"There will be overwhelming accord throughout industry to see these common sense measures incorporated."

Latest Red Tape Challenge announcements - January 2014

The Department for Transport (DfT) announced a raft of measures aimed at reducing burdens on the road transport sector on 29 January 2014. The outcomes of the Red Tape Challenge follow consultations which took place in 2013 and to which FTA responded. Some aspects included in the announcement had been committed to in previous Government statements, others were new.

Extension to digital tachograph Vehicle Unit download limit - The maximum legal limit for downloading data from the digital tachograph vehicle unit will increase from the current 56 days to the EU maximum of 90 days. The limit for the driver card remains unchanged. This is still subject to Parliamentary processes but the Department expects it to come into force by the end of 2014. FTA Freight Council members welcomed this flexibility. This may now allow operators whose vehicle safety inspections are at intervals of eight weeks or greater to incorporate the download as part of the inspection process, as is common practice currently where the inspection interval is less than eight weeks. This may also aid operators whose vehicles spend significant amounts of time away from base.

Domestic driver’s hours records - The specification of records of domestic drivers hours rules (ie what information the record should contain) will be removed from legislation but the need to keep some form of record will remain a requirement in operator licensing undertakings. FTA will work with the DfT, Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency and the Traffic Commissioners to fully understand how drivers operating under domestic driver’s hours rules will be expected to demonstrate their compliance with the law to enforcement authorities.

New guidance on the rules surrounding driver’s hours and breaks – recognising the difficulties drivers and operators often face in understanding and reconciling the different rules applied by European driver’s hours rules and European working time rules, DfT has announced its intention to produce renewed, simplified guidance in conjunction with stakeholders.

The announcement also confirmed that DfT would not be taking forward other proposals on which it had consulted.

Carriers of cash and valuables remain in scope of EU driver’s hours rules – the consultation considered whether the UK should take advantage of a derogation in the European driver’s hours legislation allowing member states to take such operators out of scope and therefore operate under domestic hours rules. FTA members who operate in the sector indicated that the impact of the daily duty limit in domestic rules could have a detrimental effect on their operations. These operators will therefore continue to be in scope of EU driver’s hours rules.

Operator licence thresholds for ‘green’ vehicles will remain under review – the consultation proposed raising the weight threshold for entry into operator licensing regulations to allow small vehicles to take on the additional weight required to run on alternative fuels without any loss of payload; it was suggested that this problem was stalling the uptake of alternatively fuelled vehicles. FTA Freight Council members expressed concern that the safety aspects of operator licensing were based on the risks of operating vehicles over a particular weight, and that it was difficult to identify how the mechanism of propulsion of a vehicle might mitigate those risks. DfT says this proposal will remain under review.

Other provisions arising from the Red Tape Challenge which have been announced previously include:

  • 36 million vehicles will no longer need a paper tax disc, saving business and taxpayers around £14 million each year
  • 33 million drivers will no longer need a paper counterpart to their driving licence, saving them an estimated £8 million each year
  • more than 17 million changes to address and vehicle details will be possible online
  • 6 million people will not need to return an insurance certificate if a policy is cancelled mid-term, saving business £29 million each year
  • 2 million fleet vehicles will no longer need a paper registration certificate, saving companies around £3 million each year
  • 1.2 million vehicle owners no longer need to renew their Statutory Off-Road Notification (SORN) saving them £6 million a year
  • 160,000 customers do not need to MOT their historic vehicle, saving them £7 million a year
  • 600,000 more people can tax their vehicle online
  • 76,000 mechanics and valets have been exempted from additional driver training, saving business £24 million a year
  • new rules, saving road users over £100 million per year in reduced congestion, incentivise quicker and less disruptive road works.

To read the full announcement click here