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Mon May 27 2024

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Builders swing behind crane hire sector

10 Apr The National Federation of Builders has called on the government to stop police forces killing the crane hire sector.

Transport embargos imposed by authoritarian police forces, without consultation or accountability, could be removed by ministers at the stroke of a pen, the National Federation of Builders (NFB) said.

As previously reported, mobile crane hire companies and haulage firms are finding their ability to trade increasingly impacted by road embargos dreamt up by jobsworth police officers who don’t understand how business or the construction industry work. For five days over easter it was virtually impossible in many parts of the country to move even a basic three-axle mobile crane weighing 12 tonnes per axle. Even on normal working days, access to highways is becoming increasingly restricted by the police.

NFB chief executive Richard Beresford said: “A productive nation is nothing without a well-functioning construction industry, but we are increasingly finding that the operational side of construction is far from the minds of decision makers.

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“Plant machinery hire was already negatively impacted by the removal of red diesel for construction because it caused fuel theft to increase, plant machinery costs to rise and created new and greater maintenance challenges. Today we are hearing that crane operators and hauliers moving abnormal sized loads are pulling out of the market because embargoes on travel between certain hours are making jobs impossible, financially unviable or having seriously negative impacts on workforces.”

Rico Wojtulewicz, head of policy and market insight at the NFB, added: “With so many issues across the industry, from the cost of materials, and shrinking pool of workers, to a broken planning process and increased insolvencies, we need the government to act quickly and sort out this mess.

“A temporary written ministerial statement removing all embargoes on travel for abnormal loads would give the government time and space to have a consultation on how travel restrictions should work nationally. Letting local police forces and councils make decisions on travel embargoes, particularly when they are not providing evidence of their rationale, is creating a logistical nightmare and another major barrier for UK productivity.”

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