The Freight Transport Association (FTA) is warning that increased fines are not the solution to illegal truck parking in Kent.
The FTA said the problem will only be solved when there are adequate clean and secure parking facilities for hard-working truck drivers.
Ashford Borough Council has received approval from the Department for Transport to increase the fines imposed as part of its overnight truck parking enforcement trial from £40 per infringement to £150. According to the Council the additional money will be used to cover the full cost of issuing penalty notices and processing payments.
FTA’s Policy Manager for the South East, Heidi Skinner said the sudden increase is poorly planned and disproportionate. “We are shocked by Ashford Borough Council’s decision to increase fines in this way with so little warning or consultation. The clamping scheme has only been in place for a couple of months, so making such a dramatic increase so quickly and with very little warning is excessive. Truck drivers keep Britain trading by providing a public service, helping to keep all of us supplied with food and other goods. They shouldn’t be penalised in this way.”
The Ashford parking enforcement pilot was introduced in October 2017 to address concerns about safety and the disruption cause by large numbers of lorries parking in the town. However, Ms Skinner said many drivers have no option but to park on public roads.
“FTA understands the concerns of Ashford residents, but nobody wants to spend the night parked in a layby or on the roadside, it’s unsanitary and in many cases unsafe for drivers who have valuable goods in their vehicles. Truck drivers are skilled professionals who are required by law to take regular breaks. The government and local authorities need to take action to ensure there are enough clean, secure facilities for them to park overnight before introducing such harsh penalties.”
Photo: The government and local authorities need to ensure there are enough clean, secure facilities for truck drivers to park overnight.