A Wiltshire haulage company has been awarded more than £150,000 in match funding to provide better rest facilities on the Markay Estate in Warminster to improve life for HGV drivers. 

Family-owned F&S Gibbs Transport Services will put the money towards a £300,000 project to provide HGV parking and welfare facilities in Furnax Lane.

The aim is to make work safer and easier for long-distance lorry drivers when parked up and to increase haulage capacity. 

Jensen Whatley-Gibbs, 25, a member of the family, said: “It is a very good opportunity to improve the facilities for the drivers.

“We will use the grant to improve the ground for the parking area to reduce dust, and to provide a restroom with showers, toilets, washing machines and a small kitchen area.

“We also plan to landscape the area with a small pond and picnic benches for the drivers to use during their stops.

“We hope that when it is complete will be a very good place for them to relax and get their daily rest and to provide a better environment for the drivers.”

The company employs 18 drivers on the road, plus part-timers, and provides ‘truck-stop’ facilities for visiting HGV drivers, including some from overseas.

South West Wiltshire MP Andrew Murrison visited F&S Gibbs Transport Services on Friday (September 15) to hear about the challenges facing the haulage and logistics sector and to see for himself how the money will be used.

He said: "I have written to ministers before about the conditions drivers often find in lorry parks in the UK which are generally inferior to those on the continent.

“I'm so very pleased to see a government scheme that has recognised this and will start the process of improvement. It's a welcome and deserved boost to an important industry. 

"The pandemic showed how much we rely on drivers.” 

Roads Minister Richard Holden last week announced £8 million of Government and industry funding to significantly upgrade truck stops for lorry drivers and support recruitment and workforce retention.

A total of 39 roadside facility operators across England will each receive a share of £8 million from the Department for Transport and a further £11 million from industry to significantly upgrade truck stops for lorry drivers.

The improvements will boost welfare facilities like showers, rest areas and restaurants, and increase heavy goods vehicle (HGV) parking capacity while improving security for drivers.

The funding comes from the government’s HGV parking and driver welfare grant scheme and forms part of the up to £100 million joint investment between government and industry to support the logistics sector, helping to boost economic growth.

The announcement also marked the launch of the second window for roadside facility operators to bid for further funding to continue boosting lorry roadside facilities across England. The window for bids will close on November 20.

Mr Holden said: “Day and night, our lorry drivers and hauliers work tirelessly to deliver essential food, goods and medical supplies up and down the country.

“As we continue supporting the haulage sector in playing its crucial role in helping to grow the economy, these first winners will help ensure lorry drivers have great facilities where they can safely park, sleep and rest.”

In total, both government and industry will look to spend up to £100 million through to March 2025 to improve lorry roadside facilities for drivers.

Richard Smith, Road Haulage Association managing director, said:  "We would encourage other operators to apply for funding to help them upgrade, too. Better facilities and more safe and secure parking for truckers are a key priority for our industry."