WITH INCREASING VOLUMES OF TRAFFIC AND THE RELATIVE LACK OF AWARENESS SHOWN BY SOME MOTORISTS THERE WAS AN URGENT NEED FOR BETTER TRAINED STAFF TO UNDERTAKE THE VITALLY IMPORTANT ROLE OF ESCORTING ABNORMAL LOADS. BOB BEECH EXPLAINS THE BACKGROUND TO THE NEW QUALIFICATIONS.
The Abnormal Load Escort Certificates of Competence, which were launched by the Heavy Transport Association (HTA) in early 2017, are the result of a long and exhaustive process between the HTA, various regulatory bodies, industry representatives and the City and Guilds organisation. These much-needed qualifications bring a framework of effective training and two distinct qualifications to the business of providing safe and effective escorting of large abnormal loads on British roads. Previously there was no formal training available for this function and the industry was forced to start providing private escorts in 2004, when police forces began to withdraw from routinely escorting abnormal loads. A code of practice for private escorts was drawn up by the Highways Agency later that year, but many operators had already made their own ad-hoc arrangements, which differed considerably in terms of effectiveness.