Last reviewed 19 January 2021
Lorry drivers in Kent are being fined and prevented from resting by Kent County Council, despite parking provisions provided by authorities to deal with post-Brexit delays being “woefully inadequate”, Unite the union has claimed.
It attacked the council’s recently established heavy goods vehicle (HGV) parking ban scheme and said drivers are being “persecuted” for the local authority’s own lack of preparations.
The union explained that the scheme, which was drawn up without consultation with drivers or Unite, stipulates that HGVs must return to their base of operation, if they cannot cross from Kent into the EU.
Lorry drivers face fines of £185, if they park for longer than 45 minutes on any road in the districts and boroughs of Ashford, Canterbury, Dover, Folkstone and Hythe, Maidstone, Swale and Thanet.
This includes lay-bys, except for three single areas on the A249, A299 and A256.
While there are five designated lorry parks in Kent — most, according to Unite with inadequate toilet, washing, rest and food facilities — the union is receiving driver reports of access, paperwork and operational issues, as well as congestion, at a number of these sites.
Unite’s regional officer Phil Silkstone said: “Lorry drivers have every sympathy with Kent residents who have been severely inconvenienced by HGV backlogs in the past. HGV drivers and Kent’s communities need a sensible system to prevent the chaos seen at Christmas happening again. Instead, drivers either face being fined for resting, or driving while tired out of the county or to ill-functioning lorry parks, with all the potential risks that entails for them and the public.”