The Freight Transport Association is warning that increased fines are not the solution to illegal truck parking in Kent. It says the problem will only be solved when there are adequate clean and secure parking facilities for truck drivers.
Ashford Borough Council has received Department for Transport approval to increase the fines imposed as part of its overnight truck parking enforcement trial. The FTA understands the charge to truck operators will rise from £40 per infringement to £150, and has been told the additional money will be used to cover the full cost of issuing penalty notices and processing payments.
While the FTA says it appreciates the desire to ensure the scheme is fully funded, its Policy Manager for the South-East, Heidi Skinner, believes the sudden increase was 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,” she said. “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 caused by large numbers of lorries parking in the town. However, Heidi Skinner said many drivers had no option but to park on public roads: “We understand 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 ensure there are enough clean, secure facilities for them to park overnight before introducing such harsh penalties.”