Kent County Council and Ashford Borough Council joined forces last night (Monday) in a UK-first to clamp down on illegally parked HGVs.
The scheme, which allows the authorities to clamp and fine drivers, has been developed by working with the Department for Transport (DfT).
The DfT agreed to change the current clamping policy for HGV’s so that a clamp can be fitted for first time offences.
Over the course of the evening, when spaces were available at lorry parks in the county, the following clamping and fines were issued:
- 11 issued for lorries parked on the A20
- 11 at the Orbital industrial estate
- 5 at the Sevington industrial estate
- 2 at the Ellingham industrial estate
- 0 at Wotton Road industrial estate – road closed for repairs
Although a ban on lorry parking has been in place at Orbital Park and the Ashford Business Park in Sevington since 2004, enforcement was hindered by limited access to the registered keeper details of some foreign registered HGVs.
This effectively meant that European collection agencies had to be employed to track down drivers and collect the fines.
KCC cabinet member for highways Matthew Balfour said:
“On our first night out along the A20, 29 lorries were fined and clamped for parking illegally on roads around Ashford.
“For several weeks now we have been issuing leaflets in 16 different languages at all truck stops, ports and to HGVs we’ve found parked along the side of the roads – this has not suddenly happened without warning.
“On the first night, spaces were available in lorry parks and our early indications have shown that the problem hasn’t just ‘moved down the road’.
“This isn’t about punishing drivers, it’s about trying to create a change in behaviour, and whilst we appreciate the issues they face, we also have to consider the danger and nuisance they cause our residents.
“With regards to more spaces being available in Kent, we continue to work on plans for a series of lorry parks across the county and we know that there are plans for expansion of several commercial parks.
“We also continue to press Highways England to ensure lorry parking is at the forefront of their plans to deal with issues arising from Operation Stack.”
Over the last month there was a significant period of advertising in multiple languages.
Eurotunnel, Dover Docks and all nearby truck stops have been briefed about the order and its implications.
ABC’s Parking Civil Enforcement Team will also be issuing warning notices to any HGV parked in areas where enforcement will be taking place.
Ashford Borough Council’s Portfolio Holder for Health, Parking and Community Safety, Cllr Brad Bradford, said: “Although there are many designated truck stops across the county, many areas in Kent – particularly Ashford – have experienced issues with overnight lorry parking on side roads and industrial estates.
“Our experience in enforcement has seen KCC choose Ashford to work alongside them as part of this UK initiative.
“We are delighted to be teaming up with KCC to help enforce the new scheme, and we hope it will show positive results, like Ashford’s pilot clamping scheme did in 2015.
“This initiative will ensure that effective enforcement can be taken on lorry drivers who ignore the rules by illegally parking in the borough.
“We hope it will benefit and improve the lives of our residents and businesses who are affected by lorries parking around our businesses parks and on this section of the A20.”
The zones are:
• The A20 between Charing and Ashford
• Wotton Road
• Ellingham Industrial Estate
• The Orbital Park, Sevington
• Ashford Business Park, Sevington
It will run between 8pm and 7am Monday to Friday and 24 hours Saturday and Sunday on the industrial estates.