HGV drivers 'treated like dirt' and don't have access to basic facilities

The number of people working as HGV drivers in the UK has fallen by 53,000 in four years, official figures released today show.

Many in the industry blame poor working conditions, especially a lack of safe parking.

The head of Britain's biggest motorway services firm has told ITV News the government is "asleep on watch", and we have new crime figures highlighting the risks many truckers are facing.

We asked lorry drivers to make video diaries. The results show that in this sector, people often struggle to get even the basic dignities of working life.

HGV driver Sam Kendall said service toilets are often closed, meaning he has to use a water bottle:

The recordings show how drivers often end up staying in lay-bys as there is a lack of secure parking spaces. It can become a lifestyle of wet wipes instead of showers and using empty bottles instead of toilets.

Many drivers are worried about security, with their loads targeted by organised criminals.

HGV driver Julie Charles, who is campaigning for better facilities, told us: "We need safe parking, we need clean facilities and basically to be treated with respect as opposed to being treated like dirt."

New figures given to ITV News show drivers are right to be so concerned about security. There have been 2,992 crime reports so far this year, costing almost £296.4 million.

Jay Lea, another lorry driver who filmed his average day, said baby wipe showers are a regular occurrence:

The National Vehicle Crime Intelligence Service told us "there isn't adequate safe parking", and "drivers' welfare and safety is at risk". We asked the head of Britain's biggest motorway service stations group why more lorry parking is not being provided. Ken McMeikan, the Chief Executive of Moto, said he blames the government for lack of support getting planning permission.

"I think the government have very much been asleep on watch because they have known there has been a chronic shortage of HGV parking spaces," he said.

"What the government should have been doing is setting targets and then supporting the likes of Moto and other operators in getting the planning consents we need."

A DfT spokesperson said: “We are aware of concerns over lorry parking and are working with stakeholders to increase capacity.

"New planning rules also mean that Local Authorities must consider the need for overnight lorry parking in future applications.”