PROFESSIONAL RECOVERY OPERATORS FEDERATION NEWS

 

Information for London VRO on Temporary changes to London Bridge
(Good Luck with that):-

This announcement summarises some changes and more information is provided at https://consultations.tfl.gov.uk/general/streetspace/. The new arrangements will include the bridge being reopened to general traffic on a restricted schedule from today, Wednesday 16th September onwards:

• Between 07:00 and 19:00 Monday to Friday, bridge access will be limited to buses, licensed taxis, motorcyclists and people walking and cycling only
• General traffic will be able to access the bridge after 19:00 and before 07:00 Monday to Friday, and at all times during weekends
• Licensed taxis are permitted to use the bridge at all times

The changes are supported by a banned left turn from London Bridge into Duke Street Hill for general traffic, excluding buses, cycles and taxis. This banned turn applies at all times of the day throughout the week. The measures will promote walking and cycling and help bus services as part of the ongoing response to the Coronavirus.

Between 07:00 and 19:00 on weekdays vehicles restricted from using London Bridge will need to use alternative river crossings, including Blackfriars, Westminster and Lambeth bridges where possible. If you have any comments or suggestions for changes and improvements that we might make, please let us know at streetspacelondon@tfl.gov.uk. Although we’re not undertaking a formal consultation on this scheme at this time, since it has been implemented under a temporary TRO, we’ll be monitoring the effects of the Streetspace programme over the coming months.

Kind regards TFL

 

An Update from the President:-

As chairman of PROF, I feel a great pride in the work and the relationship we are building along side Highway England. 12 months ago there was hardly any relationship to speak of, but now the PROF is being asked to quote on Highways England’s latest campaign, a real statement of intent of us working together! If you would like to see the details of this new campaign please click here.

The recovery industry’s strategic partnership with Highways England which includes our colleagues and other trade bodies, is a fantastic milestone of the progress we have made and the working party meetings held in recent months have been excellent and are creating a united consensus on how to improve the Highways and the safety on Smart Motorways.


Returning to the Highways England campaign  to stop tailgating, I am very hopeful  it will mean less work for VROs , but more life’s will be saved by safer driving and safer minded drivers! Combine this campaign to “stop tailgating“ with the work currently being undertaken to improve Smart Motorways, by making them safer and the public more aware of them and I am very optimistic that together, the vehicle recovery industry and Highways England will make the Highways safer for the public and safer for our VROs .

We have made excellent progress in uniting the industry behind our common goals, but 12 months in there is still  very much to accomplish! How ever like  the  once mighty Arsenal, we are improving, we are gaining small wins, but we do know that only 100% commitment, hard work, and teamwork with get the job done. Support this campaign wherever and where ever you can, and together we will save lives, our own included !

Stay Safe
Richard Goddard

 

The response the industry has been waiting for:-

After some delay and some uncertainty that was spread around the industry PROF has contacted the National Police Chiefs' Council and asked for clarification, below is their response The Federation would like to extend its thanks to the NPCC for their comprehensive reply, which will allow the industry to proceed safely and legally while helping our customers.

Richard Goddard


Update to the above from the IVR 22 June 2020

Further to our email of 6 June 2020, we have received reports that despite NPCC writing to all UK police forces and asking them to take a pragmatic view of the COVID-19 Recovery Industry Protocol guidance, Police Scotland DO NOT consider the carrying of passengers whilst remaining in the casualty vehicle to be legal practice and consider it to be an offence.

We therefore suggest that those in Scotland DO NOT move passengers in this way, but that in line with SURVIVE Best Practice Guidance and your dynamic risk assessment, that you contact the emergency services to request urgent assistance should you consider there is an imminent danger to casualty vehicle passengers.

Those in other parts of the UK should consult the IVR website, the PROF website and the SURVIVE website, to ensure that they have fully understood the guidance and highlight that only trained operatives should use the protocol guidance and that insurance companies should be consulted before using the protocol guidance.  This is a temporary COVID-19 measure, which should be used as a last resort and to the first place of safety.

 

Breaking News Story

An article in a British newspaper The Telegraph concerning the current situation in the industry has been picked up by Yahoo Finance and is being read world wide. We have repeated the Telegraphs article below with this link to the original.

Motorists face being stranded in breakdowns as recovery industry faces crisis, report warns



Steve Bird
23 May 2020


It is feared that motorists will experience more breakdowns after lock-down is lifted because many cars have been standing idle for weeks. Motorists whose cars breakdown face being abandoned because the independent roadside recovery industry is facing collapse due to the coronavirus lock-down, a new study has found. 

Research by an all party parliamentary group has found four out of five rescue companies are warning they face bankruptcy in the next three months.

The prospect of so many independent recovery companies closing comes as more restrictions on movement are expected to be lifted with the likelihood of a ‘stay-cation’ seeing  the number of motorists taking to the roads increasing dramatically. 

It is feared that because so many cars have been standing idle for so long a greater number of them will be susceptible to suffering mechanical problems.

Independent recovery companies, which are usually family owned small businesses, respond to a significant number of breakdowns.

A survey by the All Party Parliamentary Group for Roadside Rescue and Recovery showed 46 per cent of such companies have been operating at below one fifth of their usual capacity, with four in fives businesses operating below 40 per cent capacity.

As a consequence, 78 per cent of businesses said they could survive for fewer than three months at current levels, and 77 per cent of businesses admitting they were not confident about surviving the crisis.

The companies are particularly vulnerable because, unlike motoring organisations such as the AA and RAC which get monthly or annual subscriptions, they are paid per job.

Sir Mike Penning MP, the Conservative MP and chair of the parliamentary group, said: “These survey results make for harrowing reading. The nation depends on a sustainable roadside recovery industry to keep our roads moving. This will be as true after lock-down as it was before. 

“I am worried that if many of these independent  recovery businesses fold we will be looking at a congested road network further down the line. The government should take steps now to extend the business rates holiday to include recovery operators, and look at other forms of tax relief to ensure this essential industry survives intact.”

Richard Goddard, chairman of the Professional Recovery Operators Federation, said the country faces a “log jam” as demand picks up later in the summer when people who cannot travel abroad choose to have holidays in the UK.



IVR COVID19 Update

Previous advice on the COVID-19 Rescue Protocol and the carrying of passengers in-vehicle, on the back of the recovery vehicle, has now been challenged around the interpretation of legislation and the general use of the guidance, rather than the emergency use of the guidance. 

It is essential that this guidance is only used in extreme circumstances, where there is no other alternative for the passengers of the disabled vehicle and your risk assessment deems any alternative measures may leave both driver and the passengers of the disabled vehicle in a vulnerable or dangerous situation.

Both The IVR  and PROF reiterate that this method is to be used only when essential i.e. if your dynamic risk assessment identifies a ‘RISK’, that leaving a customer at the scene exposes them to significant risk.  The recovery with the passengers staying in the disabled vehicle MUST only be to the nearest place of safety.  We also re-iterate that this should not become the preferred practice, it is the exception rather than the rule, but can help technicians to comply with Government guidelines for 2m social distancing rules during the COVID-19 outbreak.

This practice, which is in line with SURVIVE Best Practice Guidelines and PAS43, should only be used by correctly trained operatives, who have been fully trained on how to secure the load correctly, (including with the use of a winch and secondary safety strap) and for the trained recovery driver to adjust their driving accordingly.

Finally companies should ensure they have cleared this method with their insurance company and technicians should continue to operate under their company’s procedures and guidelines.

Please continue to monitor the IVR, PROF and SURVIVE websites for further updates.

Kind regards

Mary Edwards  |  General Manager  |  T 01895 436426  |  M 07860 849974 


APPG Update

On January 20th 2020 Chair of the APPG for Roadside Rescue and Recovery Sir Mike Penning wrote to the Secretary of State for Transport asking him for an update the evidence review into red lights for recovery operators following the conclusion of the Department’s stock-take into smart motorways. The Secretary of State replied by congratulating Sir Mike on his re-election as Chair and commented that review was outstanding and a decision will be taken once it is completed. This follows the APPG’s submission to the evidence review, which was completed with the assistance of the Secretariat services from CSRRR and PROF.



What this job is all about

The message below was received yesterday (2 April) via Hobbs Recovery Services' website.

"I would just like to thank one of your employees, and this is the only way I know how to as I don’t have his details. He went by the name Dave and was in one of your lorries with your uniform on, he is a credit to your company and a hero to me.

It was silly o clock in the morning on Saturday morning, and my father and I were walking from the car to my house after collecting him from his house due to him being alone and feeling ill. It turns out that he was having multiple heart attacks and was having a severe one as your driver passed by I don’t know what he saw in order for him to realise we needed help, but he pulled his truck over and ran towards us. At that time, my father collapsed and went into full cardiac arrest, his heart stopped. Your driver calmly laid him flat on the floor, and told me to call an ambulance, and to get to the house and retrieve some aspirin, and if I didn’t have any to get to a neighbours house and ask them. In this time he actually started CPR on my dad, he promised me everything would be okay as long as the ambulance gets here and he doesn’t stop cpr as this gives blood to my dads brain.

He did this for 3 minutes solid, until my dad came round, a bit hazy but to be expected. Your driver saved my dads life, if it wasn’t for him he wouldn’t be here today. The ambulance took him fully conscious and he went into surgery and made a full recovery. He is very very grateful to your driver, and I wanted to let you know too as he is a credit to your team, and although my father lives a considerable amount of miles away, I believe he met the right person that night and I’m glad Dave was in the right place at the right time.

Well done to your driver and well done Hobbs recovery!

Regards Hannah l"


Conference calls go on through the crisis

The Federation continues to organise and chair emergency meeting of its partner to discuss the way forward and to seek out new ways to make the industry safer. It also reviews existing recommendations to see if they may need change in view of the fluid situation we find ourselves in. Here is a screen shoot of some of those involved in the meeting of the 13th of May.




 

PROF’s relationship with TTL grows with their Department of News and External Relations making direct contact with Richard Goddard Chairman of PROF and the PROF Press Office.

Richard goes on to say, I have today received notification (SEE BELOW) that TfL will be postponing the planned enforcement of next year’s LEZ and DVS rules in London. This relaxation of the planned rollout further endorses the great work we have been doing with TfL and the London Assembly.

Whilst we cannot claim to have influenced this decision, we can say we are the recognised voice and direct link to both Government and TfL, with this breaking news being shared with us before going on general release.

We ‘PROF’ will continue to ensure the voice of the Recovery Industry and the LARO membership is listened to where Government and TfL continues to increase its ‘Stealth Tax’ measures.




From: Department of News and External Relations Transport for London
Subject: Postponement of enforcement of new LEZ and DVS rules in London

Good afternoon, the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has asked Transport for London to delay the enforcement of new rules for London’s Low Emission Zone (LEZ) and Direct Vision Standard (DVS) for at least four months after their introduction this October.

We recognise that the coronavirus pandemic has impacted the road freight sector in ways which could make compliance with the new standards more challenging. Though companies have been preparing for the new rules for some time, with many vehicles already compliant, the pandemic has disrupted supply chains and has placed additional demands on the industry. Postponing enforcement will allow the freight industry to focus on its core operations during the pandemic.

We remain committed to working together to tackle some of London’s biggest challenges, including road danger and air quality. Tightened emissions standards for buses, coaches, lorries and specialist vehicles – in line with the tough requirements in place for the central London Ultra Low Emission Zone – will help clean up London’s air and save lives. Meanwhile the DVS will reduce danger to vulnerable road users by introducing a safety permit system for HGVs, assigning vehicles a star rating based on how much the driver can see directly through their cab window.

Although the new rules under both schemes will still legally come into force on 26 October, no charges will be payable or enforced for non-compliant vehicles under those new standards until the end of February 2021. The new date for the start of enforcement will be kept under review.

You can find full details of LEZ scheme here https://tfl.gov.uk/modes/driving/low-emission-zone/changes-to-the-lez
and the DVS here https://tfl.gov.uk/info-for/deliveries-in-london/delivering-safely/direct-vision-in-heavy-goods-vehicles

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you would like to discuss this further. I coordinate communications on air quality-related issues: while I am in the process of hiring a dedicated freight engagement officer to meet the needs of the industry better, this appointment is on hold with the coronavirus pandemic, so I will be acting as your TfL comms team contact for the time being. Do come back to me as and when you need to.

Department of News and External Relations
Transport for London



Department of Transport red lights submission

A submission to the Department of Transport was made on behalf of the APPG for Roadside Rescue and Recovery on the 2nd of April . The submission was requested by the Department of Transport as part of their review into the feasibility of recovery operators being permitted to use red lights. The argument made by the APPG for recovery operators to be permitted to use red warning beacons was three-fold:

  1. Red light beacons provide the fastest detection times among road users, and there is a further effect due to psychological associations of the colour red in the minds of road users;
  2. The risks faced by roadside rescue and recovery operators in the performance of their duties are at least as great as those faced by vehicles currently allowed to use red warning beacons under UK law, and are and considerably greater than those permitted to use amber warning beacons;
  3. The proposal has overwhelming support amongst representative industry groups, has received support from the police, and the industry has already taken steps to demonstrate how the use of red lights would be regulated, allaying concerns of abuse.

The APPG is supported in its work by the Campaign for Safer Roadside Rescue and Recovery and Tendo Consulting. The document can be downloaded in our Media Area (link above).



Smart Motorway Safety Evidence Stocktake and Action Plan

The department for transport have published their much awaited document covering Smart Motorway Safety Evidence Stocktake and Action Plan. In October 2019, the Secretary of State asked the Department to carry out an evidence stocktake to gather the facts on the safety of smart motorways and make recommendations. This was largely due to the pressure brought to bear by PROF via its Campaign for Safer Roadside Rescue & Recovery. This work is set out in the Evidence Stocktake in Part A of the document. The action the Government is taking in response to this work is set out in the Action Plan in Part B. The document can be downloaded in our Media Area (link above).



A Statement from Creative Funding Solutions Limited sent to PROF:

Our thoughts remain with all of our customers at this challenging time. To that end, we are open for business as usual and would like to play our part in helping you or your business carry on as normally as possible. Obviously everyone has to prioritise the health and safety of others around them, so we have made some obvious changes to our working practices in order to fulfil that duty of care.

We would like to offer you all some practical advice on how to deal with your finances during this difficult period. If you have loans running currently you may need to request a payment holiday until some sort of normality resumes. If we have arranged funding for you then contact us directly for assistance via your account manager and they can guide you as to how to request a payment holiday, which for the most part has to be done directly with the funders. Some funders were quick to offer blanket repayment holidays of 90 days for those who make a request, other funders requested a myriad of supporting information in order to get an arrangement over the line. The latter do seem to have softened a little in the past few days and again we are happy to support anyone who is struggling to get the support they need and no doubt deserve. Anyone can contact us for help at covid19@creativefs.co.uk

At Creative we can still help you access funding, and that may be just what is required during this fallow period. The government has launched several initiatives, CBILS being one that we are hoping can really help businesses access the funding they need:

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) is now available

What does the CBILS specifically provide?

  • Up to £5m facility: A facility offered under the scheme will have a maximum value of £5m, available on terms of repayment up to 6 years.
  • 80% Guarantee: The scheme offers a government-backed partial guarantee to the lender against the remaining balance of the loan.
  • No guarantee fee for SMEs to access the scheme: No fee for smaller businesses. Lenders will pay a fee to access the scheme.
  • Interest and fees covered by the Government for a period of 12 months: the Government must make a Business Interruption Provision to cover the first 12 months of interest rates and any lender-paying fees, meaning that smaller companies can benefit from no upfront expenses and lower initial repayments.
  • Finance terms: Finance terms for term loans and asset financing facilities amount to up to six years. The terms will be up to three years for overdrafts and invoice financing facilities.
  • Security: The scheme can, at the discretion of the lender, be used for unsecured loans for facilities of £250,000 or less. For facilities over £250,000, the lender must create a shortage or lack of protection before businesses use CBILS. If the lender can offer finance on normal commercial terms, they will do so without the need to make use of the scheme.

More information on all of the above and other initiatives can be found on our website at https://businessfundingsolutions.co.uk/coronavirus/

If anyone needs any help or support with anything finance over this period then do not hesitate in contacting us. We are open for business, we are here to help and we are happy to speak on an individual basis to anyone needing support. Our lines are open on 0330 223 1261 or email queries to covid19@creativefs.co.uk

Stay safe. Mike Lowe Director







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