My name is Rod McKenzie and I run the policy and public affairs operation for the RHA. So what does that mean in real life? To represent our members’ best interests, we have to win arguments with those in authority – the Westminster government, the devolved governments, councils and other authorities and their various civil servants. If it sounds easy to win what we think are very strong arguments, sadly it’s not; so, we have to campaign hard.
It’s a long slow burn but the matters we are fighting for really count. We talk to the media, explain these issues and why they can affect our members alongside the day to day work of talking to those in authority. Often government takes more notice of a row in the media than they do the steady but slow fact-based argument. So it’s never quiet in our policy and public affairs team.
At the moment we’re worried about the government’s release of information on new ways that firms who move goods across borders will have to work after 1 January 2021. So far this has been inadequate and lacks clarity and we’ve consistently made that point loud and clear. Hauliers and traders need more information – and for it to be much more simply communicated. The burden of red tape is a big worry next year.
We also campaign hard for more safe and secure parking and welfare facilities for truckers. They deserve decent places to rest, sleep and eat when they’re on the road delivering our goods. But we believe there’s shortage of around 11,000 lorry parking places every night.
I love this industry even though I’m a latecomer to it, after a career spent working for broadcast media, including the BBC. Its voice has too often gone unheard, muted, ignored: we are determined to change that at the RHA, and our progress thanks to the profile of National Lorry Week will continue.