KCC is clamping HGVs across Kent as part of Brexit traffic management scheme
Lorry drivers parking up overnight in the lay-bys around Kent and going to sleep in their cabs risk waking up to find their vehicle has been clamped. Kent County Council has taken special powers that prohibit vehicles of over five tons parking in any street in the boroughs of Ashford, Canterbury, Dover, Folkestone and Hythe, Maidstone, Swale or Thanet, other than in designated areas.
Lorries over 5 tons risk a clamp if they stay in this layby longer than 45 minutes
The move is part of the county’s traffic management plan brought in to control the expected chaos of HGVs heading to the Channel Tunnel post the ending of the Brexit transition period on December 31.
The planned-for disruption has largely not materialised, whether that’s due to the success of the measures or the reduced number of goods shipments during lockdown, is not clear. Vehicles heading for the coast are supposed to take one of two dedicated routes: for lorries heading to the Port of Dover that’s up Detling Hill in Maidstone and across to Manston, where there is a lorry holding park, while for Channel Tunnel traffic to Folkestone it’s down the M20, queuing if necessary in the Operation Brock holding area, and then to Eurotunnel.
KCC’s senior highways manager Toby Howe said: “There hasn’t been as much traffic as we anticipated and there have been very few vehicles held in Brock.”
However, KCC said: “Even though we’ve worked hard on the traffic management plans with our partners, there may well be a certain amount of freight turned back from the Port of Dover, Eurotunnel, or from the Manston or Sevington sites, if their border paperwork is not in order.
Some vehicles have been clamped overnight: Stock image
“In this case, HGVs are expected to return to their base of operation, but some may just move onto the local road network and wait to become border ready.” The new restriction is intend to prevent the congestion that might cause. It is in addition to any on-street parking restrictions that are signed locally and remain in effect.”
The restriction applies to all streets, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. But it is catching out some drivers, because there are no specific warning signs in the laybys that many are used to using. On most mornings for the past two weeks, around six vehicles have been clamped in the layby in Chatham Road, off Blue Bell Hill, near Maidstone, with the drivers obliged to pay a ?150 release fee and a ?35 penalty charge before they could move on.
A warning sign in the layby in Chatham Road off Blue Bell Hill which is closed to HGVs over five tons (44190239)
A sympathetic local has manufactured two home-made warning signs slipped into plastic wallets to warn drivers, but there is no official signage.
A KCC spokesman said: “Signs have been placed at key locations to ensure drivers are aware they are entering and leaving restriction zones.” There are some exceptions, where HGVs can continue to park. These are laybys on the A249 between M20 Junction 7 and M2 Junction 5; on the A299 between M2 Junction 7 and junction with A256, and on the A256 between the junction with A299 and junction with A2.
Additionally, drivers of HGVs are permitted to stop for their short break (45 minutes) as defined by the EU drivers’ hours regulations.
There are no road markings to indicate parking is not allowed in the Chatham Road layby
HGVs can continue to load or unload in the normal manner, except where existing parking restrictions apply. Dedicated parking for HGVs are also available at: Maidstone services – M20 Junction 8
Medway services – M2, located between Junctions 4 and 5 STOP 24 services – Channel Ports Truck Stop – M20 Junction 11 Ashford International Truck Stop – Waterbrook Avenue, Ashford.
TN24 0GB Dover Truck Park – Menzies Road, Port Zone. Whitfield.
Dover. CT16 2HQ. A motorist who observed the lorries clamped at Blue Bell Hill, said: “It seems a bit mean.
There are no signs up saying they can’t park there. And HGVs have been using that layby for years. “As if the continental drivers have not had enough problems this winter!
“After all they are keeping our economy going.” But KCC said it was taking a “reasonable, targeted approach to enforcement.” It said: “Kent’s residents are our priority and through this scheme, our aim is to encourage HGV drivers to consider their impact on local communities and other road users.”
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