Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has secured a parliamentary debate this Thursday (22nd June) on changes to Department for Transport rules which risk harming local construction companies. The debate will focus on new restrictions expected to come into force in the coming years which will reduce the allowed weight of smaller concrete transporters.
Volumetric Concrete Mobile plants (VCMs) deliver concrete to smaller businesses and individuals, particularly in remote areas and tight urban sites, compared to larger traditional drum concrete carriers.
VCMs operate across the UK, and their manufacture and use is estimated to contribute £380m to the economy, employing over 15,000 skilled workers. Local businesses such as Andrew Sinclair Ltd in Orkney and Tulloch Developments Ltd in Shetland are among those affected by changes to regulation.
Speaking ahead of the debate Mr Carmichael said:
“This issue is a classic example of an obscure regulation change by civil servants causing a massive headache for businesses in the real world. Having pressed ministers and officials on this matter for some time, the debate we have secured is the next step in holding the government to account – and pushing for a rethink.
“It is basic common sense to review the regulation change. This is a business sector which employs over 15,000 people in the UK and contributes around £386m annually to our economy. Restoring the previous weight limits on VCMs will protect an industry which is essential to keep development work viable in the isles, so that we can keep services in our community with less waste, fewer journeys, and a lower carbon footprint.
“This is already a well-regulated industry and would carry on being so if the previous rules were kept. There is a clear case for the Department for Transport to reverse these changes to regulations so I hope that ministers will take the debate as the moment to change course.”