I wish to update the House on the joint initiative between the Department for Transport and Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities on planning reforms for lorry parking, and to emphasise the critical importance of the freight and logistics sector to shops, households, assembly lines, hospitals and other public services across the country.
The infrastructure that supports our hauliers is essential to the effective and resilient supply chains we need. This government is committed to addressing the strategic national need for more lorry parking and better services in lorry parks in England and we must act now.
To support our hauliers’ access to parking and services in the near term we are working with our partners to identify and deliver a number of temporary sites where short-term modular facilities can be installed to address some of our immediate need. We are encouraging National Highways to consider how their land holdings can be used to provide additional parking spaces nationwide, to give priority to the provision of lorry parking across the Strategic Road Network and assist local authorities in identifying areas of lorry parking need.
This government is also determined that the planning system should play its part in meeting the needs of hauliers and addressing current deficiencies. Planning plays a critical part in the allocation of land for lorry parking.
The National planning policy framework sets out that local planning policies and decisions should recognise the importance of providing adequate overnight lorry parking facilities, taking into account any local shortages, to reduce the risk of parking in locations that lack proper facilities or could cause a nuisance. Proposals for new or expanded distribution centres should make provision for sufficient lorry parking to cater for their anticipated use.
In addition, the government’s policy is clear that development proposals for new or expanded goods distribution centres should make provision for sufficient lorry parking to cater for their anticipated use. In preparing local plans and deciding planning applications, the specific locational requirements of different industrial sectors should be recognised and addressed. This should include making provision for storage and distribution operations at a variety of scales, and in suitably accessible locations.
We have also published planning practice guidance setting out how local planning authorities can assess the need for and allocate land to logistics site uses and are accelerating work recommended by the National Infrastructure Commission to consider the appropriateness of current planning practice guidance. This includes taking forward a review of how the freight sector is currently represented in guidance.
To ensure future decision-making supports the needs of the sector, we are updating Highways Circular 02/2013 The Strategic Road Network and the delivery of sustainable development fully to reflect the importance of providing logistics and freight, and are updating the National lorry parking survey to ensure strong evidence is available on the national picture in future. A programme of longer-term measures is under development supported by the £32.5 million in roadside facilities for hauliers announced in last week’s budget and we will publish a future of freight plan, a long-term strategic plan for the sector, in coming months.
The need for a reliable and efficient supply chain has recently come into sharp focus. It is therefore essential that we put in place mechanisms that deliver a supply chain network that is secure, reliable, efficient, and resilient, with no link in the chain overlooked.
Taken together our planning policies and wider measures will support our logistics and freight sectors and the people that work in them. Working with industry and local authorities we will continue to monitor the situation closely and take further action when it is needed.