The MPA supports two proposals that are being considered by the Department for Transport (DfT) and has urged that they be implemented as soon as possible. At present, the volumetric mixers – which carry individual materials and mix them to order on site – have historically been able to operate as ‘engineering plant’. This has allowed them to avoid significant regulations required of HGVs for safety and related purposes.
Nigel Jackson, chief executive of the MPA, said: “Volumetrics are HGVs which deliver ready-mixed concrete. MPA has been calling for legislation to level the regulatory playing field between volumetrics and HGVs, such as truck-mixers, for several years and we are very pleased that Government is now moving on this issue.
DfT has issued two consultations proposing that volumetrics are brought within the scope of Operator (O) Licences and are required to undertake regular road-worthiness testing. The DfT also proposes to end the way that volumetrics currently operate to weight limits significantly higher than HGVs. A four-axle HGV, such as a ready-mixed concrete truckmixer, has a maximum gross weight of 32t, whereas volumetrics often operate at 40t to 45t.
“MPA is not against volumetrics which supply 10% of ready-mixed concrete and make an important contribution to the market,” says Mr Jackson. “However, it is unacceptable that for years they have been able to take advantage of loopholes in the law and operate as engineering plant, thereby being able to ignore the maximum weight, drivers’ hours and operator licensing requirements which apply to HGVs. At a time when there is an increasing safety focus on HGVs and MPA members are implementing significant steps to help improve the safety of vulnerable road users, such as cyclists, it is long overdue that all vehicles on our roads are subject to reasonable and consistent regulation and the free ride for volumetrics is ended.”