Priti visits family run Hatfield Peverel based timber haulage firm

Priti with Colin Ashby, a director of CJ Ashby Timber Haulage during her tour of their premises

Priti visits family run Hatfield Peverel based timber haulage firm

Published: 14th June 2023 - 3:05 pm Category: Local News

Priti Patel, the Member of Parliament for Witham has called in to see C J Ashby Timber Haulage Ltd of Smallands Hall Farm in Hatfield Peverel.  The company’s directors Colin and Mary Ashby invited Priti to visit on Friday 9th June 2023 for a catch-up meeting to discuss the issues most affecting the road haulage sector.  The visit was organised by the Road Haulage Association (RHA) and she was joined by the RHA’s Public Affairs Manager & Policy Lead on Infrastructure & Operator Licensing, Tom Cornwell.

The Ashby family have been working with the natural environment for four generations and their main product is harvesting English willow trees for making cricket bats.  The firm grows willow trees for various local farmers and landowners.  It continues to be a family run business with Colin’s father, John, driving the lorries and moving machinery as well as the timber after it has been felled.

The issues under discussion with Priti included security at driver facilities and the major shortage of safe and secure parking at rest facilities around the country.  The failure to include such facilities in the planning and development of infrastructure.  The return of the HGV levy in August which the RHA believes is a targeted tax on the road freight industry that will inhibit economic growth. Rising costs were inevitably on the agenda with an increase of 20% in the cost of running an HGV over the last twelve months and an almost 40% increase in the cost of fuel since last year, all of which have to be passed on to the consumer. There is also a major problem with skills shortages.

Commenting about her visit, Priti said: “It was a pleasure to see Colin and Mary again and I am grateful to them for the time they spent with me going over the key issues currently affecting the road haulage industry.  The Government needs to understand that this industry is a vital part of our national infrastructure and give it the support it needs to keep playing the important role it has in maintaining and growing our economy.”

Colin Ashby, a director at CJ Ashby Timber Haulage said: “It was great to see Priti and we very much welcomed the opportunity to talk through our issues with her.  She is always a sympathetic ear.  She has a business background and fully understands how companies, such as ours, work and the problems that can be created for us by Government policies that fail to fully consider our needs and the part we play in keeping the UK economy going.”

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