Department for Transport refuses to close hauliers’ Working Time Directive loophole

Truck operators will breathe a sigh of relief following a government announcement that there will be no changes to the way the Working Time Directive (WTD) is implemented.

The Department for Transport had come under pressure from trade unions to cut the flexibility currently offered to hauliers by periods of availability – waiting time that drivers know about in advance – which they see as a loophole open to abuse.

However, in a review of the UK’s implementation of the WTD, the government ignored the union lobbying in favour of retaining the status quo, albeit promising sterner enforcement.

A statement from the Department for Transport said: “There was no evidence to suggest that any major changes were needed or to justify a change to the existing interpretation of periods of availability.”

The sector’s main trade association welcomed the announcement. Nick Graham, chairman of the Freight Transport Association’s road freight council, said: “Everyone has got used to [the directive] operating effectively, it would have been destructive to change that unless there was a need.”

The Department for Transport said the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency would be given a greater role in enforcing the directive, and will also look at ways of ensuring information about the WTD is easily available.

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