Kent County Council is looking into the feasibility of a number of small lorry parks across the county to help alleviate the blight of illegal lorry parking.
The new parks would be run as a private and public partnership and KCC will work closely with the private sector to identify what funding options exist to deliver the sites.
Leader of Kent County Council Paul Carter said “We are taking action to find a solution to the widespread problem of illegal lorry parking in Kent. These illegally parked lorries are a blight on the county, anti-social and dangerous.
“I believe a series of intelligently placed small lorry parks would alleviate this problem and, if we put these plans in place and drivers have somewhere safe and secure to park overnight, I am confident the police will support the plans by imposing tough enforcements on lorries parking in unauthorised places.”
It comes as KCC launches a consultation into overnight lorry parking, preventing lorries going along rural roads and minimising their impact on local communities.
The Freight Action Plan sets out five ongoing actions for managing freight through Kent.
The plan, which is now out for consultation for eight weeks, outlines how these actions can be met through partnership-working between Kent County Council, local district and borough councils, industry bodies and other affected parties.
The five priorities are:
- To tackle the problem of overnight lorry parking in Kent
- To find a long term solution to Operation Stack
- To effectively manage the routing of HGV traffic to ensure it stays on the strategic road network for as much of its journey as possible
- To take steps to address the problems caused by freight traffic to communities
- To ensure that KCC continues to make effective use of planning and development control powers to reduce the impact of freight traffic
KCC cabinet member for environment and transport Matthew Balfour said: “The freight transport industry makes a significant contribution to Kent’s economy and the UK as a whole.
“For that reason, it’s important to recognise both the need for HGVs to use the highway network and the positive economic benefits this brings.
“We must, however, ensure that residents and businesses of and visitors to Kent are not disadvantaged by the fact we are the gateway to Europe.
“I would encourage everyone to read the consultation and take part to ensure we have a wide range of views from across the county.”
KCC has already successfully delivered a number of initiatives to mitigate the impact of freight traffic through the county.
This includes lobbying government to achieve £250 million of funding for a permanent lorry holding area as a solution to Operation Stack.
Developing and adopting the Freight Journey Planner, a route planner that aims to help HGV drivers plan their routes within Kent.
Implementing a number of Lorry Watch schemes across the county to empower local residents to record the details of vehicles contravening restrictions.
Continuing signing improvements across the county including the use of pictorial signs to assist drivers whose first language is not English.
Establishing Operation Kindle in which KCC works collaboratively with Kent Police, Highways England and Medway/Borough/ District Councils to clamp/ move on illegally or antisocially parked HGVs in the district. So far this has resulted in just under 500 fixed penalty notices issued and over 2,000 HGVs being moved on.
Lobbying government to introduce a HGV Road User Levy which ensures all HGVs make financial contributions towards improvements and maintenance of the national road network.
The demand for overnight parking is growing as the volume of cross-Channel freight increases.
Visit kent.gov.uk/freightactionplan to download a draft copy of the Freight Action Plan and fill in the online questionnaire.
If you require this document in any other format or language, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 03000 421553 (text relay service number: 18001 03000 421553).
This number goes to an answer machine which is monitored during office hours.
Consultation responses will be used to help produce the final version of the Freight Action Plan.
The consultation closes on March 12.