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Lorry parks for Kent

A site off the M20 Junction 11 at Westenhanger is the preferred location for a lorry park as the first phase of possibly three lorry parks in Kent, for cross-Channel freight traffic.

The Kent County Council move has been welcomed by the road freight trade body the Road Haulage Association. RHA haulage security manager Chrys Rampley said: “We have been working with Kent and also Ashford District Council to find ways of resolving the chronic shortage of appropriate lorry parking in Kent. The two authorities have done impressive work on this important issue. The proposed package of measures to encourage use of the lorry parks when they are built has the RHA’s full support.

“A Department for Transport study in 2011 highlighted the South-east as having the most severe shortage of secure lorry parking and we must seize this opportunity to move forward with decisive action.”

Such a commercial lorry park would not only mean driver stops including overnight would be more secure, but would as the county council noted in a publication improve ‘drivers’ dignity and helping them to follow the EU Drivers Hours Directive, improving the perceptual image of East Kent from a tourism perspective’. Other lorry parks at Ashford International Truckstop, M20 junction 10; and Dover, pictured; may follow.

If everyone would gain from lorry parks in Kent – to avoid the stacking of lorries on the motorway waiting to cross the Channel, which costs an estimated £1m a day – why aren’t they there already?! And why isn’t there more secure lorry parking elsewhere in the country, so that drivers don’t have to park in lay-bys and industrial estates at night, vulnerable to theft? One reason must be that drivers – or to be exact their companies – might not be so keen on paying for lorry parks with more services including gate control and fences and the like, but at a price. A Kent County Council lorry parks feasibility study dated March 2014 found that most drivers are willing to pay a maximum of ten euros for basic services but also that people are prepared to pay more for intermediate services (defined as including a shop and hot food, and gate and fence), with most up to a maximum of 20 euros.

Visit https://democracy.kent.gov.uk/ieDecisionDetails.aspx?Id=683

For the feasibility study visit – https://democracy.kent.gov.uk/documents/s49182/Kent%20Lorry%20Parks%20Feasbility%20Study%20Phase%202%20-%20Appendix%202.pdf

As for a timetable, KCC says that more consultation is planned, running at least into next year.

Meanwhile an e-petition is calling for the Government to abolish fines imposed by the UK Border force on drivers and hauliers for bringing illegal immigrants into the UK, even if inadvertently. The petition argues that the authorities will find more co-operation without the punishment, as lorry drivers would not be in fear of approaching the border guards. The petition speaks of ‘clandestines’ seeking to board vehicles with violence at Continental ports, and French police ‘not doing a great deal’. For the e-petition visit http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/67460.


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