Increased charges in city centres will hit sector hard, warns Gloucestershire haulage boss

Moreton Cullimore-min[2]

The boss of a Gloucestershire-based haulage company has issued a plea to goverment: Don’t force us off the roads after Covid19.”

National plans to close city centre routes to vehicles and increased charges will hit haulage companies hard, says Moreton Cullimore.

The managing director of Gloucestershire haulage firm The Cullimore Group has joined the Road Haulage Association (RHA) in criticising the return of congestion charges and tariffs in the wake of the Covid19 lockdown.

Moreton Cullimore, a member of the RHA national board and regional chair of its Bristol and Gloucestershire sub-group, claims that measures such as the re-introduction of the London Lorry Control Scheme and closing roads to vehicles to encourage cycling in urban areas will have a detrimental impact on an already vulnerable haulage sector and the wider UK economy.

Moreton said: “As an RHA board member and a haulage business owner, I am disappointed that plans to increase tariffs and congestion charges are even being discussed at a time when haulage needs help the most. Lockdown might be easing, but there’s still a long way to go.

“Our industry, which has been at the forefront of keeping goods moving around the country, has been hit hard by the pandemic, yet we are not receiving the support we need to survive. Without haulage, our economy will be devasted.

“Larger firms may well have enough cash in the bank to pay the additional charges, but smaller, regional firms will struggle. I understand the need to reduce congestion in our communities, but forcing lorries off the roads as the latest plans will, is not the answer. Pollution levels have dropped significantly during lockdown despite 50% of trucks continuing to operate, meaning that the sheer volume of cars is causing pollution issues, not trucks and lorries.”

According to the RHA, 89 per cent of goods transported by land in the UK is moved using roads, in addition to 98 per cent of food and agriculture goods. Throughout the Covid19 lockdown, Mr Cullimore has been one of many haulage owners calling for the sector’s contribution to the economy to be recognised, and has long demanded support for drivers being denied access to bathroom facilities and safe rest locations.

On 18 May, The Cullimore Group began a phased return to operations to meet demand for its aggregate products, extracted at its five sites across the South West.