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Manston lorry park to shut for good

The makeshift lorry park at Manston[1] which opened last winter is to shut for good at the end of this month.

The government has confirmed it will not extend its use of the airport beyond June 30, when the current lease expires.

Lorries at Manston in December. Picture: UKNIP

Lorries at Manston in December. Picture: UKNIP

Lorries at Manston in December. Picture: UKNIP

It was acquired as a contingency to provide a holding area when freight traffic was delayed during the transition period out of the European Union.

The sprawling site was used a Covid test site for thousands of lorry drivers over the Christmas period, with much disruption being caused over the festive season.

But for the past months, the sprawling site has rarely been used.

In March, it was decided lorries bound for the Channel ports would no longer be directed to Manston[2] for customs checks or Covid tests.

And now, analysis of predicted tourist traffic levels during the summer and potential knock-on impact on freight traffic shows Manston’s use is not required.

The site was originally set up to swab lorry drivers just before Christmas after the French authorities insisted no one could enter France without a negative test result.

It left thousands of hauliers stuck at Manston over Christmas, with the backlog only cleared when hundreds of soldiers were drafted in to help with testing.

Earlier this year shocking revelations of drug-taking, illicit sex and fake Covid results emerged[3] involving employees brought in to manage the testing operation.

Read more: All the latest news from Thanet[4]

A303 fatal crash: Police update as officers renew appeal

A 36-year-old man who was arrested after a fatal crash on the A303 in Somerset has been released without charge.

The collision happened on Wednesday (June 16) at around 10:30pm, near Sparkford.

Following the incident, the road was closed for around fifteen hours[1] while police completed investigation work at the scene.

READ MORE A303 Cartgate Roundabout: delays after lorry overturns – live updates[2]

Sadly, the driver of the car, a 32-year-old man, was pronounced dead at the scene.

A spokeswoman for Avon and Somerset Constabulary[3] said: “Police continue to investigate the cause of a fatal collision on the A303 between Sparkford and Podimore.

“A car and a lorry were involved in the collision which happened at about 10.30pm on Wednesday 16 June. Sadly the driver of the car, a 32-year-old man, was pronounced dead at the scene.

“Our thoughts are with his family, who are being supported by specially trained officers.

“A man arrested in connection with the collision has since been released without charge.

“If you have any information or dashcam footage which could help the investigation, call 101 and give the call handler the reference number 5221134914.”

References

  1. ^ closed for around fifteen hours (www.somersetlive.co.uk)
  2. ^ A303 Cartgate Roundabout: delays after lorry overturns – live updates (www.somersetlive.co.uk)
  3. ^ Avon and Somerset Constabulary (www.somersetlive.co.uk)

Driver shortage causes UK supply crisis

A shortage of lorry drivers is resulting in fresh produce being dumped or left to rot in cold stores, while supermarket shelves and restaurant plates go empty, produce suppliers and retailers warn.

The driver deficit – the worst in over 20 years, according to driver recruitment agency Driver Require – is the result of an exodus of EU drivers post-Brexit and government failure to recruit a replacement workforce. The coronavirus pandemic, which has prevented driving tests and training for over a year, as well as a hike in driver costs, has exacerbated the shortfall.

Haulage companies are therefore struggling to deliver goods – either imported or domestically produced – to UK retailers and restaurants, causing delays and product losses, and empty plates and shelves, distributors say.

Tesco, the UK’s biggest supermarket chain, is understood to have informed the UK Government’s Department of Transport that its suppliers are being forced to bin nearly 50 tonnes of fresh food every week because there are too few lorry drivers to transport produce to stores.

Meanwhile, the Federation of Wholesale Distributors (FWD) is so concerned that it has urged the government to consider having Army trucks on standby to ensure there are enough vehicles and drivers to distribute food.

“It’s shocking, but it’s true. The acute shortage of HGV drivers is now the direct cause of perfectly good, graded and packed fresh produce being dumped or left rotting in coldstores,” Tim O’Malley, managing director of major UK produce distributor Nationwide Produce, told FPJ. “In all my years in fresh produce I’ve never seen anything like this. Goods are being produced, but not delivered.”

The current situation – dubbed a national crisis by some suppliers – is predicted to get worse as the UK continues to open up after lockdown, and demand increases from hospitality and retail.

Brexit clearance issues and a global shortage of shipping containers are further deepening transport problems for imported produce, one source told FPJ.

“The driver shortage has reached crisis point for some of our members and we believe it is likely to get worse as more hospitality venues open and demand increases,” said FWD chief executive James Bielby.

“With the estimated 70,000 shortfall in HGV drivers, some wholesalers have had to limit the number of deliveries they make to convenience stores which has led to some availability issues.

“We’ve asked the government to re-instate the temporary extension of drivers’ hours (from 9 to 11) which was in place last year but ended recently. Other proposals we are putting forward include ending furlough for HGV drivers, temporarily waiving requirements for medical certs and CPC for those which have run out, and using army drivers to deliver to vulnerable communities.”

Meanwhile, in an open letter to the FPJ, Nationwide Produce’s O’Malley urged produce industry suppliers to work with hauliers and customers to get through this crisis.

“I would urge you not to shout at your hauliers and threaten them with bills, as that will get you nowhere – work with them to find solutions,” he wrote. “Customers will have to be far more flexible on delivery times. We also need to stop hauling fresh air around the country. Full pallets and full loads are what we need in a crisis like this.”

O’Malley added that customers need to be more flexible on date codes to allow direct deliveries from abroad. “I’m sure this will eventually lead us all to adopt better practices, but for now we need to work together to find a way through this crisis,” he said.

Alex Veitch, general manager – public policy at Logistics UK, added: “With a large pool of potential candidates available, owing to the nation’s higher unemployment, Logistics UK is urging the government to make HGV driver training affordable, accessible and attractive for all. 

“Our 2021 Logistics Report shows that 29 per cent of logistics businesses anticipate that they will be unable to fill vacancies for HGV drivers this year; a further 14.5 per cent expect long delays before filling a role. With the logistics industry in urgent need of these workers, Logistics UK is urging the government to include training for HGV Drivers in their list of courses funded through the National Skills Fund to reskill potential employees and help recruit them into the industry.

“Logistics UK is also urging the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) to maintain its fast-track programme to catch-up on at least 30,000 driving tests that were postponed due to COVID-19 between March and December 2020; this has left thousands of potential HGV drivers waiting in the wings when the UK needs them most to support every facet of UK PLC.”

Man, 80, with Alzheimer’s at centre of urgent police search

*Update: Police have since confirmed Mr Sergeant has now been found safe and well.

The public are being urged to join an urgent search for a missing 80-year-old man who police say can “become confused” due to Alzheimer′s.

Alan Sergeant has vanished from his home in Warrington.

Police say he been seen since he left his home in Poplars and Hulme on foot shortly after 7.30am this morning.

READ MORE:M62 lorry driver saved man from falling after parking his lorry under bridge[1]

A spokesperson said the pensioner “has Alzheimer′s and can become confused”.

The Alzheimer’s Association[2] describe Alzheimer’s as “a type of dementia that affects memory, thinking and behavior. Symptoms eventually grow severe enough to interfere with daily tasks”.

Receive newsletters with the latest news, sport and what’s on updates from the Liverpool ECHO by signing up here[3]

Police have enlisted the public as they are “keen to locate him as soon as possible”.

Inspector Helen Cooper said: “A number of officers are currently out searching for Alan, so far to no avail, and we are concerned for his welfare.

“He has Alzheimer′s and often becomes confused, so we are keen to locate him as soon as possible.

““I urge anyone in or around Warrington who thinks that they may have seen Alan since he went missing to get in touch with us.

“The same goes for anyone with information regarding his whereabouts, or CCTV or dashcam footage of him since he left home on foot this morning.”

Alan is described as around 5’ 2” tall, of slim build and has short black/grey hair.

He was last seen wearing black pants, a black jacket and blue trainers.

He also has a tag on his eye and may also have a carrier bag.

Anyone with information or footage that may help officers find James is asked to call Cheshire Constabulary immediately on 101, quoting IML 1016125.

M62 driver parked lorry under bridge to stop man from jumping

A lorry driver has been hailed a hero after parking his truck under a bridge on the M62 to stop a man from jumping.

Tom Birkett, 35, was driving on the M62 near Warrington last week when he spotted someone sitting on the edge of a bridge with their legs dangling over the edge.[1]

The married dad-of-three slowed down as he approached – and managed to park his 44-tonne tipper truck directly underneath where the man was sitting.[2]

READ MORE:Thug spat chewed up sandwich remains in police officer’s face[3]

His Mercedes truck was also fitted with a canvas over the tipper, providing it with a soft top and essentially creating a net for the man to fall into, although luckily it was not needed.

Tom, from Kendal, Cumbria, said: “I was coming up to bridge when I clocked there were three people on it.

The lorry driver parked their vehicle underneath the man
The lorry driver parked their vehicle underneath the man (Image: Vulnerable Citizen Support Leeds)

“As I got closer I could see that the lad was sat on the wrong side of the barrier.[4]

“I thought, ‘I’m going to have to do something here, this lad’s going to jump off’.”

Tom then put his hazard lights on and began weaving his truck in order to notify other motorists there was a problem ahead.

He added: “I don’t know what clicked in my head but it suddenly dawned on me that I could help.

“I lined the truck up with the lad so the front of the trailer was underneath him.”

Receive newsletters with the latest news, sport and what’s on updates from the Liverpool ECHO by signing up here[5].

When Tom arrived, on June 8, police were already on the scene, including two officers on the bridge who were speaking to the man.

A short time later, a negotiator arrived and, according to Tom, spent around 45 mins talking to the man before he brought himself to safety.

Mental health and suicide support

Helplines and support groups

The following are helplines and support networks for people to talk to, mostly listed on the NHS Choices website[6]

  • Samaritans[7] (116 123) operates a 24-hour service available every day of the year. If you prefer to write down how you’re feeling, or if you’re worried about being overheard on the phone, you can email Samaritans at [email protected][8].
  • Childline[9] (0800 1111) runs a helpline for children and young people in the UK. Calls are free and the number won’t show up on your phone bill.
  • PAPYRUS[10] (0800 068 41 41) is an organisation supporting teenagers and young adults who are feeling suicidal.
  • Mind[11] (0300 123 3393) is a charity providing advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem. They campaign to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding.
  • Students Against Depression[12] is a website for students who are depressed, have a low mood or are having suicidal thoughts.
  • Bullying UK[13] is a website for both children and adults affected by bullying.
  • Amparo provides emotional and practical support for anyone who has been affected by a suicide. This includes dealing with police and coroners; helping with media enquiries; preparing for and attending an inquest and helping to access other, appropriate, local support services. Call 0330 088 9255 or visit www.amparo.org.uk[14] for more details.

  • Hub of Hope[15] is the UK’s most comprehensive national mental health support database. Download the free app, visit hubofhope.co.uk[16] or text HOPE to 85258 to find relevant services near you.
  • Young Persons Advisory Service – Providing mental health and emotional wellbeing services for Liverpool’s children, young people and families. tel: 0151 707 1025 email: [email protected][17][18]
  • Paul’s Place – providing free counselling and group sessions to anyone living in Merseyside who has lost a family member or friend to suicide. Tel: 0151 226 0696 or email: [email protected][19][20]
  • The Martin Gallier Project – offering face to face support for individuals considering suicide and their families. Opening hours 9.30-16.30, 7 days a week. Tel: 0151 644 0294 email: [email protected]e.co.uk[21][22]

Tom said the entire ordeal lasted around two hours and that he was watching on from a barrier at the side of the road.

He added: “I can’t speak highly enough of how well the police did, they were fantastic. The negotiator did a phenomenal job too.

“I think what I did has been blown out of proportion, the police are the real heroes here.”

After watching the man get ushered away by police, Tom was allowed to return to his truck and continue his journey.

He said: “I hope that other drivers see this and know it’s an option.”

References

  1. ^ over the edge. (www.liverpoolecho.co.uk)
  2. ^ man was sitting. (www.liverpoolecho.co.uk)
  3. ^ Thug spat chewed up sandwich remains in police officer’s face (www.liverpoolecho.co.uk)
  4. ^ the barrier. (www.liverpoolecho.co.uk)
  5. ^ Liverpool ECHO by signing up here (www.liverpoolecho.co.uk)
  6. ^ NHS Choices website (www.nhs.uk)
  7. ^ Samaritans (www.samaritans.org)
  8. ^ [email protected] (www.liverpoolecho.co.uk)
  9. ^ Childline (www.childline.org.uk)
  10. ^ PAPYRUS (www.papyrus-uk.org)
  11. ^ Mind (www.mind.org.uk)
  12. ^ Students Against Depression (studentsagainstdepression.org)
  13. ^ Bullying UK (www.bullying.co.uk)
  14. ^ www.amparo.org.uk (www.amparo.org.uk)
  15. ^ Hub of Hope (www.hubofhope.co.uk)
  16. ^ hubofhope.co.uk (www.hubofhope.co.uk)
  17. ^ Young Persons Advisory Service (www.ypas.org.uk)
  18. ^ [email protected] (www.liverpoolecho.co.uk)
  19. ^ Paul’s Place (beaconcounsellingtrust.co.uk)
  20. ^ [email protected] (www.liverpoolecho.co.uk)
  21. ^ The Martin Gallier Project (www.gallierhouse.co.uk)
  22. ^ [email protected] (www.liverpoolecho.co.uk)