News release from 13/01/2021

Local councils support DfT’s scheme to help lorry drivers to isolate

Local councils support DfT’s scheme to help lorry drivers to isolate

Local Councils are supporting the Department for Transport’s scheme for lorry drivers to isolate at The Cambridge Bar Hill hotel, before completing their journeys.

Our frequently asked question [PDF] document answers many queries about what is happening in Bar Hill.

As required by the French Government, all lorry drivers travelling to France need to have proof of a negative Coronavirus test. The Department for Transport (DfT) has set up information and advice sites across Britain where drivers can be tested before making their way to France.

Where there is a need for a driver to isolate, the DfT has procured the exclusive use of hotels in strategic locations across the country, including the Cambridge Bar Hill Hotel, to accommodate mainly non-UK based drivers who test positive.

The hotels will be used for drivers to complete their isolation period and they are being provided with a room, food, drink, toiletries, television, and Wi-Fi. The drivers are given clear information about their responsibilities upon arrival. They will be required to isolate in their rooms. Additional support is also being made available for those drivers who don’t speak English as a first language.

South Cambridgeshire District Council Environmental Health Officers have worked with the hotel management to ensure staff and people needing to isolate are kept safe. This includes good processes for lorry drivers, local councils and hotel staff to keep in touch, providing things they need in their rooms and to ensure this can be done whilst maintaining social distancing. Staff with the correct PPE are on hand through the day and night to provide any assistance that is required and a specific outdoor area has been made available for the drivers to get fresh air without needing to come into contact with anyone else.

The Cambridge Bar Hill Hotel has been designated due to its proximity to the A14 and the road’s links to ports and the M11. In most cases, the lorry cab, excluding the trailer, is the only part of the HGV being parked within the hotel grounds. The Councils are working with the DfT to ensure the number of vehicles are managed on site and no lorry cabs are parked in the village itself. No guests are staying at the hotel apart from the lorry drivers. Security is on hand to ensure everyone sticks to the processes and to assist with the smooth running of the hotel.

South Cambridgeshire District and Cambridgeshire County Councils are working together to carry out welfare checks to ensure visiting drivers have everything they need to be able to complete their isolation period safely. Environmental Health Officers are working to assist with the implementation of Covid-secure measures for hotel staff and visitors throughout the building, grounds and car park. Bar Hill COVID-19 volunteers are also on hand to support the drivers if needed via its existing network of Coronavirus assistance schemes.

Cllr Bunty Waters, District Councillor for Bar Hill, said: “The community in Bar Hill have come together and worked hard to support one another during this terrible pandemic. We have had lots of issues with lorries parking in Bar Hill over the years, so I am reassured the Councils are tackling the parking of cabs as a priority and cabs and trailers will not be parked in the village. Bar Hill COVID-19 support scheme volunteers will continue to work with the local councils to see what other support might be needed. We want to ensure there is not a need for people to leave the hotel.”

Cllr Lynda Harford, Local County Councillor for Bar Hill, said: “The County Council has worked with partners including the district council, emergency planning teams and public health to provide support for these drivers who find themselves in an unenviable position. I’d like to reassure residents of Bar Hill that the appropriate public health and safety protocols are in place and strict COVID-19 rules are being followed to protect everyone and I will continue to monitor the situation. We will continue to work very closely with the hotel and the district council to ensure the parking of lorry cabs and any trailers is well managed and done safely. DfT are very aware that lorries should not park anywhere in the village and this must not be allowed to happen.” 

The Leader of South Cambridgeshire District Council, Cllr Bridget Smith said: “Given the A14’s wider importance as part of the country’s strategic road network, it makes sense to have a Covid-secure stopping point for hauliers that do test positive for Coronavirus to complete their self-isolation. These drivers are performing a vital role in ferrying supplies to and from the UK and they are a long way from home. They have nowhere else that is safe to go so they do need our support in order to isolate safely and then be able to carry on with their important jobs and get back to seeing their families. We’re working closely with the County Council and Bar Hill COVID-19 volunteers to do all we can to support the hauliers and provide them with everything they need within the hotel grounds, helping keep them and the wider community safe.”

Local Councils and the hotel are ensuring drivers have everything they need to complete the period of isolation. Anyone failing to comply with an official instruction to self-isolate, including lorry drivers at the Cambridge Bar Hill Hotel, can be fined. These start at £1,000 and rise to £10,000 for repeat offenders or serious breaches. The Police are aware of the hotel being used for this purpose and will be available if required.