The industry’s leading concrete group the MPA has urged the Government to start an immediate crackdown on the 700 volumetric concrete mixers using Britain’s roads. At present volumetric trucks can operate outside of the normal HGV regulations imposed on standard ready-mixed truckmixers. This is because of a loophole that classifies the vehicles as engineering plant rather than HGVs.
The latest CEMEX volumetric trucks fully comply with HGV regulations. It means no-compliant vehicles are free to operate to weights 50% higher than equivalent HGVs; drivers are not subject to strict hours limits and are not required to have HGV driving licences.
The latest call comes as the Government launches a review into improving road safety for cyclists.
Already campaigners are putting the Government under pressure to ban HGVs during rush hour periods in major cities. Presently under-regulated volumetric concrete trucks account for 10% of deliveries or around 5 million tonnes of concrete.
In a report to Roads Minister Andrew Jones, Nigel Jackson, Chief Executive of the Mineral Products Association, said: “Both ready-mixed concrete truckmixers and volumetric concrete mixers are HGVs operating on public roads and should be subject to the same regulations as any HGV.”
He added: “At a time when the construction supply chain is heavily engaged in initiatives to improve road safety, particularly for vulnerable road users such as cyclists, it is simply indefensible for Government not to regulate as a matter of urgency.”
Leaders of the Batched on Site Association said that up to 3,150 jobs could be lost if the changes are made. Chairman, Chris Smith, said: “We have serious concerns about the Government’s current consideration to reduce the operating weight of these machines to 32 tonnes. This would significantly reduce capabilities to the point of putting the majority of operators out of business, threatening a £210m sector of the UK economy that has grown even in-spite of the recession, and currently accounts for an estimated 3,150 jobs. We welcome the proposal to improve the safety of the sector by implementing mandatory annual tests and routine inspections, something which the BSA’s members have been voluntarily carrying out.”
The debate continues…