Truck­ers say clamp threat is nail in cof­fin of haulage in­dus­try

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Lorry - By Dan Wright

An­gry lorry drivers say a new ban stop­ping them from park­ing overnight on the A20 is “an­other nail in the cof­fin” for the coun­try’s haulage in­dus­try.

An 18-month clamp­ing trial is be­ing launched on Mon­day, Oc­to­ber 30, which will stop HGV drivers from park­ing be­tween Char­ing and the Drovers round­about.

But frus­trated lorry driver Ma­son Stephens, who set off from Ash­ford for Mi­lan on Mon­day, feels the ban is “lu­di­crous” and thinks it will be ig­nored.

He said: “The drivers do not want to park in lay­bys – we would all rather park in truck­stops but the one in Ash­ford only holds 300 and they have closed Folke­stone Har­bour and the Air­port Cafe on the A20.

“The law says we can only drive a cer­tain num­ber of hours – we must have 11 hours off ev­ery night – but this new ban means we would now be break­ing the law if we parked on the A20.

“The coun­cil hasn’t looked at the rea­sons why we have to park there – they haven’t thought it through.”

The ban will run from 8pm to 7am the fol­low­ing day – and drivers will have to pay a £250 fine to get the clamp re­leased.

An overnight wait­ing re­stric­tion is al­ready in force on the Ash­ford Busi­ness Park and Or­bital Park in Sev­ing­ton, as well as at Elling­ham In­dus­trial Es­tate and Wot­ton Road.

Mr Stephens, of Bent­ley Road, says the town’s lorry park should have been ex­tended be­fore Ash­ford Bor­ough Coun­cil (ABC) started the crack­down.

He pulls up on the A20 twice a week when Ash­ford’s truck­stop is full.

“You can­not ban some­thing un­til you have an al­ter­na­tive in place,” the 42-year-old said.

“I think it will be ig­nored and a lot of clamps will be put on. The English haulage in­dus­try is slowly de­clin­ing and it is not the drivers’ fault – it is be­cause it is one of the most leg­is­lated in­dus­tries in Europe.

“Kent is a hub of trans­port, but this new law is an­other nail in the cof­fin for the UK haulage in­dus­try.”

West­well par­ish coun­cil chair­man Chris­tine Drury – whose home bor­ders an A20 layby which is a mag­net for lor­ries park­ing up overnight – wel­comed the ban.

“It has taken a long time to get the po­lit­i­cal sup­port, but it has fi­nally come to­gether,” she said.

“You can’t walk down the pave­ment in the layby as it stinks of wee – it is aw­ful, and I have to walk in the road to get away from the smell.

“This is a huge step for­ward, but it is only the be­gin­ning and there is a great deal more to be done in the bor­oughs to pro­vide more lorry parks around Kent.”

‘They don’t look at why we park there – they haven’t thought it through’

What do you think? Write to Kentish Ex­press, Unit 4, Park Mall Shop­ping Cen­tre Ash­ford, TN24 8RY or email ken­tish­ex­press@thek­m­group. co.uk

Chris­tine Drury, West­well par­ish coun­cil chair­man, and truck­stop user HGV driver Ma­son Stephens

Sign ad­ver­tis­ing the clamp­ing ban

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