Increasing the fines on illegal truck parking in Kent is not a solution, suggests Freights Transport Association (FTA). The logistics organisation says that offering adequate clean and secure parking facilities for hard-working truck drivers is the only way in which this issue will get solved.

Ashford Borough Council received approval from the Department for Transport to increase the fines from £40 per violation to £150. FTA has been told that the extra money will be used to cover the full cost of issuing penalty notices and processing payments.

However, the association’s Policy Manager for the South East, Heidi Skinner, considers this increase to be 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,” said her.

Truck drivers are the ones that keep the supermarkets supplied with food and other goods and these penalties are not fair on them. The first parking enforcement was introduced in October 2017 because of the large number of lorries parking in the town, even though the drivers don’t really have any other option.

Parking in a layby or on the roadside is unsanitary and dangerous as drivers could get robbed for the 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,” said Heidi.

FTA was established in 1889 and it is UK’s only organisation to represent all of logistics, having more than 16,000 members from the road, rail, sea, and air industries, as well as the buyers or freight services who depend on the efficient movement of goods. It is responsible for more than 90% of freight moved by rail, and 70% of the UK’s sea and air freight and it employs more than 2.5 million people.