Property consultancy NAI Fuller Peiser and The Freight Transport Association have launched an in-depth study into the impact which the Working Time Directive will have on the transport, logistics and property sectors when it comes into force on 23 March 2005.

The Working Time Directive will reduce the average working week for lorry drivers to an average of 48 hours, which it is estimated will reduce productivity by 10 per cent and cost UK industry 1 billion. The Directive will also have an impact on commercial property, particularly the location of warehousing and distribution centres, as the distances covered by drivers will reduce in line with fewer working hours.

The FTA / NAI Fuller Peiser Working Time Impact Study will produce quarterly reports tracking the degree to which British industry is affected by the reduced working week.

FTA members will have the opportunity to report on the impact the regulations are having on their own businesses via an email-based questionnaire as well as a series of detailed one to one interviews.

James Hookham, FTA Policy Director said, 'The Working Time Directive will be one of the most expensive and wide-ranging pieces of legislation ever to affect goods vehicle operators and drivers. The FTA / NAI Fuller Peiser Working Time Impact Study will look at the influence the regulations are having on the labour market including wage inflation and premium payments, the need for additional drivers and vehicles and, crucially, the impact it will have on the location of distribution operations. For instance, the reduction of working hours for drivers may generate the need for new distribution patterns and thus locations for warehouses and distribution centres.

Commenting on the research, Martin Coles, Managing Partner at NAI Fuller Peiser said, 'As well as having an impact on transport and logistics, the Working Time Directive will also have a major effect on commercial property. A recent poll carried out by the FTA suggested that 90% of businesses likely to be affected have done relatively little to prepare for the Directive and our concern is that companies have not taken full account of the impact this could have on their property requirements. The study will help to identify the size of the problem and the sooner this is addressed the better.'

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