Published: 13:25, 12 January 2018
A new scheme introduced by Ashford Borough Council (ABC) to "clamp down" on illegally parked lorries has been allowed to increase its release rates.
The Department for Transport has allowed ABC to increase the clamping release fees by 275%, from £40 to £150, which those who are clamped will have to pay alongside a penalty charge notice fee.
The HGV parking enforcement began last October on an 18-month trial. It prevents lorry drivers from parking overnight (8pm-7am) on the A20 between Charing and the Drovers roundabout.
There are also parking restrictions in place at the Ashford Business Park, the Orbital Park in Sevington, Ellingham Industrial Estate and along Wotton Road.
A council spokeswoman said: “The parking enforcement trail is already seeing positive results and a reduction in the level of illegal parking.
"The request to increase the fee was prompted to avoid any financial hardship on both the Borough and County Council resources or public services."
She continued: “After due consideration, approval was given for the release fee increase for the trail geographical area, covered by an Experimental Traffic Regulation Order, during the hours of operation of the HGV night time parking enforcement trial.
"Standard release fees remain in operation outside the trail.
"The increase recognises the unique situation in Ashford offered by the trial and the objective to gather evidence on the effectiveness of immobilisation as an enforcement tool. This is an important opportunity to inform and influence future policy development.
“However, the need for HGV drivers to take breaks is not disputed neither is the need for suitable parking facilities for drivers."
So far, the trial has been considered a success, with 679 lorries clamped between November and December alone.
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