Delivery hours have been extended by the Government to support supermarkets and other food retailers. Retailers will now be able to increase the frequency of deliveries to stores to replenish shelves during the Coronavirus threat.
The current rules, which prohibit overnight deliveries so that residents are not disturbed, will be temporarily relaxed.
Environment secretary George Eustice said: “We have listened to our leading supermarkets and representatives from across the industry, and we are taking action to support their preparations.
“By allowing night time deliveries to our supermarkets and food retailers we can free them up to move their stocks more quickly from their warehouses to their shelves.
“Our retailers have well-established contingency plans in place and are taking all the necessary steps to ensure consumers have the food and supplies they need. I will continue to work closely with them over the coming days and weeks on this.”
The Government says it is also looking closely at measures to ensure supply chains continue to function as normal. The transport secretary, it says, stands ready to implement existing rules that allow for extensions on drivers’ hours to help respond to emergency situations, as needed.
These rules would help the industry respond to any shortage of delivery drivers but would still require that drivers take 45-minute breaks after four and a half hours of driving, to make sure they are properly rested. The Government would work closely with employers on any use of these rules to make sure the safety of drivers and other road users is protected.