A Brief History of Haulage

It’s hard to imagine a time before there were HGVs on our roads, but the haulage industry has changed dramatically in the last 100 years or so.  When you look up and down your local high street at some of the old buildings, many of them would have had their bricks and mortar brought in by barrows and horse drawn carts.  Since then, the industry has become one of the biggest across the world, driven by technology and the economy.  Everything that we buy here in the UK is transported at some point by a UK registered lorry.

So where did it all start?

Steam power

The railways provided transport for large amounts of heavy, voluminous items, which could be moved great distances with relative ease.  At last people, as well as goods were able to travel further by the power of the steam train.

The combustion Engine

In the late 1800s the first combustion engine was patented, prompting companies to produce their own vehicles powered by this new innovation, including trucks.  As the amount of traffic on the roads increased, so did the quality of the road surfaces themselves – tarmac was first used after its invention in 1901. Pneumatic, or air filled tyres came into use after WW1.

Between the wars

UK haulage grew 300% by the early 1920s. With economic growth, the UKs demand for goods meant that more lorries were needed to transport these goods from factories and ports.  The Road Haulage Association was formed in the early 1930s.

Post War

Freight was increasingly transported by road after the war, as the railways struggled to keep up with demand due to a decaying infrastructure and a reliance on steam.  A new network of roads allowed increased vehicle size and reduced journey time.

The 60s and 70s

By 1960 there were well over half a million lorries on UK roads. The ‘Golden Age of Road Transport’ continued!  As mass manufacturing, and an increase in cheap imports grew, so did the need for a more fluid logistics industry.  As this new era drove innovation, lorries continued to change. By the mid-60s the maximum permitted weight for an articulated lorry rose from 24 tons to 32 tons. In 1968 the length limit was raised to 49 feet!  In-vehicle accommodation improved allowing lorry drivers to spend weeks away from home.

The 80s and 90s

The early 80s saw the number of five-axle articulated vehicles grow rapidly, whilst in 1989 a directive issued by the European Community increased the maximum permissible weight of certain vehicles, provided they were fitted with ‘road-friendly suspension’. Changes to the industry continued to change into the 90s with more self-employed owner-drivers. Typically the average owner-driver would own one or two HGVs and sign on to a haulage firm as an independent contractor. Safety was improving with the introduction of speed limiters.


The road transport industry has remained relatively stable, although LGV traffic has grown whilst HGV vehicles have reduced.  This could be because of the growth in the parcel delivery industry, and many people living in areas where it’s more difficult for lorries to get to.

What is true, is that haulage is the UKs fifth largest employment sector.  We think it’s here to stay!

You can find more information about our haulage services here.

Plant Hire Equipment for Domestic and Professional Construction Work in Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire

We all need tools of some kind or another at some time or another!  There may be a construction job at home or in the garden, or you may be a builder needing to hire equipment for a large site job.  If handled correctly, there are few health and safety mishaps involving plant hire equipment, but this is largely due to the maintenance and upkeep of stock held at our premises.

Hospital A&E departments are regularly treating people with injuries sustained at work through the use of power tools, and trips and falls, and a large percentage could be avoided if more care were taken.  Almost half of accidents involving power tools arise from operator misuse.  Therefore, The Health & Safety Executive prioritise the importance of following an appropriate Health & Safety Policy.

As a plant hire company, we ensure that all our plant machinery and equipment is regularly inspected and maintained. Making sure you hire the right machine for your job is paramount; this will make sure your job comes in on time with minimal risk to your safety as well as your budget. We will advise you of the correct machine for use when you enquire. 

We know that plant machinery is very expensive; that is why so many building contractors choose to hire instead of purchasing.  The machinery you use could affect the reputation of your company. That is why our stringent checks of every piece of machinery is so important; our business thrives on repeat custom, and as the saying goes ‘you’re only as good as your last job’.  We want every job to have the desired outcome!

You can find information on all of our Plant Hire services here.

How Many Construction Workers are Receiving Government Support?

The Government’s job retention scheme left many self-employed workers feeling neglected, isolated, and worried about their income.  It was first announced on 20th March that only employed workers were entitled to be part of the furlough scheme. It wasn’t until 26th March that self-employed workers could breathe a sigh of relief knowing that the SEISS (Self-employment income support scheme) was to be launched, enabling the self-employed to claim a grant to cover wages lost during the coronavirus pandemic.

One of the hardest hit sectors during this time has been construction.  With many building sites now open, but unable to operate effectively because of social distancing rules, many workers find themselves still unable to return to work. Therefore, they are more reliant than ever on the government backed furlough or grant schemes.

Details have been released by HM Revenue and Customs where it is estimated that almost 1.5 million construction workers are benefiting from the government backed schemes, and that those schemes will continue to run until the end of October. 680,000 of those are furloughed within the Coronavirus job retention scheme, whilst a further 800,000 are receiving grants from the self-employment income support scheme.

The chancellor of the exchequer, Rishi Sunak has stated: “The UK government is doing everything we can to protect jobs and businesses across the UK during the crisis.  Our unprecedented job retention and self-employment support schemes have supported the livelihoods of millions and will help ensure our recovery is as swift as possible.”  

Encouragingly, many major contractors and housebuilders have reopened, with the hope that their sales offices will follow swiftly behind.  This will all be easier to manage if the government reassess social distancing rules. Other sectors will struggle to reopen if the current 2 metre social distancing rule doesn’t change. The Hospitality industry, restaurants and pubs are keen for the guidance to be reviewed, in line with many MPs requests to reduce the 2 metre rule to 1 metre.

What is clear, is that we are all having to get used to a new normal; our new way of working could well be here to stay, if not, at least for the next few months.

For all of our Plant Hire services click here.

Does The Back To Work Order Create Difficulty For Construction Workers?

As the country now enters its ninth week of lockdown amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the Prime Minister addressed the nation last week, telling us that ‘anyone who can’t work from home, for instance those in construction or manufacturing, should be actively encouraged to go to work.’  Guidance has been published for employers on how they can encourage staff back to work in a safe manner.  One particular document is specifically for ‘Construction and other outdoor work’ which sets out the safe working measures when returning to work on site.

Many sites across the country are reviewing their procedures to stay in line with the safe working rules, but many of their workers are worried as they rely on public transport to travel to work, and government guidelines warn against using public transport where possible.

This is all likely to cause conflict, as aside from public transport issues, social distancing of 2 metres can be difficult to maintain on a building site, particularly where certain jobs require more than 1 person.  With PPE being in such short supply, this too is likely to be a bone of contention between employers and employees.

Employees have a legal right to raise concerns about their health and safety and can refuse to work if they feel that they are at imminent risk of harm, without fear of disciplinary action.  This could, of course, present site managers with a huge challenge; the health and safety of the whole workforce has to be paramount. Those not prepared to take the risk of going back to work, and those who are not adhering to the social distancing rules whilst at work will surely be causing their employers more stress.

One thing is true though; in order for the economy to even begin to recover, all sectors of industry need to be working, whether it be in construction or manufacturing. And whether the current conditions employees are forced to work under will be the ‘new normal’ remains to be seen.

More information about Eynesbury Plant Hire’s services can be found here.

What Coronavirus means for the Construction and Trades Industries

New measures came into force on 23rd March stating that you should only leave home for one of four reasons; shopping for basic essentials and medicine, one form of exercise a day, medical needs or caring for the vulnerable, and travelling to and from work but only where this cannot be done from home.

There are many industries where it is impossible to work from home, and one of these is construction.  In order for our economy to stay buoyant, industry and manufacturing must keep up production, as so many other sectors are closing down for the foreseeable future.

A growing number of construction companies have downed tools in a bit to help stop the spread of the coronavirus, but there still seems to be some confusion about the government’s advice about social distancing, and whether all construction is deemed as essential.

The government has said that work can continue so long as social distancing rules are adhered to. Some argue that a 2 meter distance between people on construction sites is not only difficult to police, but also to maintain.  In the light of this, many house builders have closed their sites amid fears that spreading the virus was a very real danger.

Shortly after lockdown rules had been announced, the Communities and Housing Secretary, Robert Jenrick stated: ”It’s important that we make sure that construction and manufacturing can continue and that seems to me to be the safest way of ensuring that we can maintain appropriate social distancing rules in a way which ensures that people who cannot work from home continue to do so.”

However, not all construction is carried out on large sites.  Many builders have to enter people’s homes in order to carry out their work.  Work on home extensions which involves close contact with the homeowner has been deemed ‘inappropriate’ but reconstructing or building a home where there is no one present is appropriate and can continue.

Government rules also state that ‘No work should be carried out in any household which is isolating or where an individual is being shielded, unless it is to remedy a direct risk to the safety of the household, such as emergency plumbing or repairs, and where the tradesperson is willing to do so. In such cases, Public Health England can provide advice to tradespeople and households.’

In such unprecedented times, it’s impossible to gauge when life might begin to return to normal, but for those whose livelihoods depend on them returning to work it can’t come soon enough. 

For our Plant Hire services page click here.

Replacing Council Housing Stocks – Will There Be A Big Build?

At the end of the First World War in 1918, there was a massive demand for housing in working class towns across the country. In 1919 Parliament passed the Housing Act, headed by Dr Christopher Addison, which promised government subsidies to help finance the building of half a million homes within three years.  Unfortunately only half of this number were completed due to the downturn in the economy.

During the 1920s however, local councils were again subsidised in order to build new housing, and the inter-war Housing Acts saw them build 1.1 million homes ensuring local authorities acquired a healthy housing stock. 

But today, over 1 million people find themselves on council house waiting lists due to The Right to Buy scheme which was initiated in the 1980s.  Housing stocks have fallen drastically as more and more tenants buy their properties at hugely discounted prices.  New homes are rarely built to replace those sold, which leaves a huge gap between waiting lists and available tenancies.

Architect and TV presenter George Clarke started a campaign last year to coincide with the centenary of the Addison Act.  Having grown up on a Council Housing Estate in the north east, he believes that the government are not doing enough to replace the housing stock sold off, and that they should commit to building 100,000 council homes per year over the next 30 years.  His petition has garnered overwhelming support and to date has over 260,000 signatures.

Mr Clarke says: “I’m proud to have been raised on a thriving council estate in the 1970s. My neighbourhood was a fantastic place to grow up and everyone was proud of their council-owned homes. This country’s obsession with home ownership over the last 40 years has created real stigma around rented council housing – and it breaks my heart. I want this country to remember the true value of council housing and restore it to a place of pride.”

The campaign is ongoing and so far no legislation has been passed to force local councils to replace alarmingly depleted reserves of council housing stock. If and when it is, Eynesbury Plant Hire will be ready!

You can sign the petition here.

Tips for Keeping Your Plant Hire Equipment Safe from Theft and Vandalism

Plant hire equipment is expensive, and as well as being sought after by thieves, it can also be subject to vandalism.  Mischief makers think they may know how to operate heavy machinery, and whether they mean to or not, can often damage equipment with repair costs running into thousands of pounds.  The correct safety and security measures should be taken if your hired equipment is to stay safely out of harm’s way.

Because the type of equipment you are hiring can differ in size and value, it is vital to consider your storage options beforehand.  You might have to store your plant hire equipment in an exposed or outdoor location, and damage caused to it through misuse or vandalism could disrupt your project schedule.  Your job could be set back for days on end, costing you money, not to mention the inconvenience!

We have compiled some simple tips to help keep your Plant Hire Equipment protected for the duration of the hire term.

  1. Location, location, location

Make your equipment as difficult as possible to access.  It’s not always practical to keep it out of sight, but if you have site cabins or buildings, these can be an excellent shield to the prying eyes of opportunist thieves or vandals.  If any would-be culprits do enter your site, they’ll have to increase their efforts to move your equipment if it is stored behind materials or other paraphernalia.

  • Take extra security measures

Make arrangements to review your security. The more measures taken, the less likely thieves and vandals will try to enter your site.  Lighting and cameras are relatively inexpensive these days, and if you choose the motion detection kind, they’ll be cheap to operate too.  Be over cautious with your lighting – opportunists rarely take chances in daylight, so make the night-time hours as bright as possible.

  • Fence it

Keeping intruders off your site is imperative if you’re to protect your equipment and other assets.  Good quality fencing will be the first barrier any would-be vandal will encounter, and it may just deter them from trying to enter any further.  You may only have scope for temporary fencing, but that coupled with other security measure should make any trouble makers think it’s not worth the risk.  Temporary fencing could also be installed and locked around any equipment that’s particularly vulnerable to thieves or vandals.

  • Don’t fuel their attempts!

Try not to leave any fuel operated machinery with full tanks.  It’s frustrating enough to lose machinery to either theft or vandalism, but to lose costly fuel too only adds to the bill!  You could use security signs to say that fuel is regularly removed and that none is left on site, to deter thieves further.

  • Track it

If you’re concerned about theft of equipment, then a GPS tracker could put your mind at rest. 

Magnetic GPS trackers are tiny pieces of equipment and are really affordable.  In the event that any of your equipment is stolen, you’ll be able to track it remotely.

Haulage Safety Technology and its Benefits

Haulage is a massive part of our transportation system and with so much traffic on our roads, it’s no wonder that there are so many accidents.  The total number rises year on year, every year.  Statistically, accidents with HGVs are far less common than with cars or bikes, but due to their sheer size and weight, HGV accidents are more likely to be fatal.  A lorry travelling at 50mph could rip through a building, so occupants of a car, van or other vehicle stand very little chance of survival in the event of a collision with an HGV.

Fortunately, even though the number of accidents keeps rising, so do safety standards, making HGV driving safer than ever before.  Technology has progressed at such a pace, that it can now be matched to virtually anything, from microchips being manufactured that are practically invisible, to huge supercomputers capable of performing quadrillions of calculations per second.

For the humble HGV, technology has been developed to help with day to day safety, to protect both the driver and general public.  These safety measures won’t stop fatalities, but there could be a great reduction in the road traffic accidents that HGVs are involved in, therefore reducing the number of HGV accident related deaths.

One such technology is the Lane Departure Warning System; a mechanism designed to keep the vehicle traveling in lane and preventing ‘drifting’.  Using cameras and sensors the device monitors the vehicle’s position on the road and will alert the driver if it goes off course suddenly.

Another is GPS monitoring which allows haulage companies to check the driver and their driving performance throughout the journey of the vehicle.  Careless driving is also detected!

As with some cars, HGVs can be fitted with an Automatic Braking System.  This will automatically activate the vehicle’s braking system when necessary, using crash avoidance technologies such as sensors, cameras and radar.

Here at Eynesbury Plant Hire, the safety of our staff, drivers and the general public is paramount.  You can find out more about us and the haulage services that we offer here.

Important factors that an HGV driver must consider

Everyone’s busy.  We’re all trying to get from A to B as quickly and safely as possible. But have you ever considered the extra care that HGV drivers have to take in order for their loads to reach their destinations in one piece?

Here at Eynesbury Plant Hire we provide road haulage container contractor services, which means that a lot of our lorries are on UK roads every single day.  Although our drivers are trained to drive these heavy goods vehicles (which are up to ten times the size of an average car), with traffic on our roads constantly increasing, there are far more hazards than ever before.

With accidents involving HGVs being amongst the more serious due to the sheer size and weight of the vehicles, HGV drivers need to be far more vigilant than the average car driver.  Here’s why:


Small car drivers can park relatively easily just about anywhere.  Some won’t think about how much remaining space is required for a lorry to pass through safely.  For an HGV driver parked cars are one of the biggest obstructions when it comes to reaching their destination safely.  Cars parked near to, or opposite junctions are dangerous, as a lorry’s turning circle can be seriously compromised.


Keeping a safe distance is vitally important for an HGV driver.  Due to the size and weight of the vehicle, stopping distances are hugely increased in comparison to a car.  Likewise, cars should keep a safe distance from lorries, as the length of the vehicle can make it very difficult for the driver to see any vehicles travelling behind them, even with the use of mirrors.


HGV drivers have targets to meet. They have to get their loads to their destinations on time the same as you have to get to work on time.  You’ll rarely see an HGV breaking any speed limits, but it doesn’t mean that they aren’t eager to get to where they need to be.  It just means that they’re taking every care to get there safely, to get their load there undamaged, and to make sure that you, the other drivers, aren’t in any danger from them on their journey.


Any person that drives an HGV is under strict rules to take a break after every 4.5 hours of driving.  This means they have to find safe places to stop, which can sometimes be difficult on single carriage roads.  This is why you’ll often see huge lorries parked up on roadside laybys. It’s not that they’re time wasting; they’re required by law to take regular scheduled breaks.  General consideration to and from other road users is part of an HGV driver’s training. Signalling of manoeuvres, safe driving distances and overall awareness of the road conditions will help to keep everyone safe!

If you would like to find out more about our Haulage Service, follow this link.

Choosing the best plant hire and haulage

Our customers require Eynesbury Plant Hire to give them service above and beyond what is considered normal by other companies. They have a zero tolerance policy for failure and of course, often we are called on to work in all weathers at very unsociable hours!

Obviously, it is very important for the customer to source a company that supplies a broad range of equipment so that they are more likely to find the best piece of plant machinery to fit their exact job. You might be staging an outdoor event and require excavators and rollers to prepare an area of ground to erect a stage. Always take professional advice from the hire company as they may be able to suggest an alternative to your initial idea.

Other factors to influence the choice of company should be how long has the company been established. Eynesbury Plant Hire have been established since 1966 and have a client base that stretches back nearly as far! Of course, being established for that long has allowed us to building up a wide range of plant hire services, haulage, plant hire and road sweepers to suit the client’s needs. As all our plant hire services are well maintained, it is unlikely that you will be supplied with a piece of kit that will break down in use.

Our plant hire services fleet is constantly updated to provide the latest in all plant hire equipment. Our team of professionals will talk you through each assignment by offering useful and knowledgeable advice. We aim to partner with you to help you succeed. Every one of our operators are competent and experienced and hold current CPCS cards, and we are CHAS accredited as you would expect.

Our up-to-date and well maintained plant hire is delivered and collected by our own haulage service at your convenience. Once delivered to your chosen site, you can use our CPCS accredited operator, or you can use the plant hire on a self drive basis. We hold full service histories and annual safety check documentation for our entire fleet. Pre and post hire checklists are completed for all plant hire services machinery.

Eynesbury Plant Hire haulage services with its range of vehicles delivers and collects plant to suit our customers’ requirements and we also provide an extensive haulage service to the construction industry, moving plant, site equipment and building materials between construction sites on your behalf. Your transportation needs will be met and you will be assured of the best possible service delivered by our professional, experienced staff. We are able to provide ADR holders when required. We also provide a haulage service for palletised and large non palletised items, including plant, machinery and equipment at competitive rates.