The Freight Transport Association (FTA) is warning that increased fines are not the solution to illegal truck parking in Kent. The UK’s leading body representing the logistics sector says the problem will only be solved when there are adequate clean and secure parking facilities for hard-working truck drivers.
Ashford Borough Council has received approval from the Department for Transport to increase the fines imposed as part of its overnight truck parking enforcement trial. FTA understands the charge to truck operators will go up sharply 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 FTA appreciates the desire to ensure the scheme is fully funded, the association’s Policy Manager for the South East, Heidi Skinner says this sudden increase is 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. 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 cause by large numbers of lorries parking in the town. However, Ms Skinner says many drivers have no option but to park on public roads:
“FTA understands 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 take action to ensure there are enough clean, secure facilities for them to park overnight before introducing such harsh penalties.”
FTA is the only organisation in the UK that represents all of logistics, with more than 16,000 members from the road, rail, sea and air industries, as well as the buyers of freight services such as retailers and manufacturers, whose businesses depend on the efficient movement of goods. Established in 1889, FTA’s members operate more than half of the UK’s HGV fleet, are responsible for more than 90% of freight moved by rail, and 70% of the UK’s sea and air freight. The UK logistics sector employs more than 2.5M people (almost 10% of the UK workforce), and by Keeping Britain Trading directly impacts every aspect of daily life.