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Ashford: Almost 2,000 lorries clamped in first year of trial

By Georgia Woolf

A trial which has banned HGV drivers from parking overnight in various spots has seen almost 2,000 lorries clamped in the first year.

The 18 months trial in Ashford, which was rolled out last year in October, bans drivers from parking their lorries overnight on the A20 between Charing and the Drovers roundabout.

The restrictions are also in place in four industrial estates in the town, including Orbital Park, Sevington, Wotton Road and Ellingham.

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So far, 1,964 lorries have been clamped since the scheme began.

Natalie Chapman, head of policy at the Freight Transport Association (FTA) said: "All the clamping trial is doing is shifting the problem around Kent.

"We know that there is a shortage of lorry parking in the county and many drivers will be heading to a truck stop to then find out it is full and get turned away.

"They simply have to find somewhere to park up and that location may not be ideal, it's not somewhere that is going to provide the level of facilities as a lorry park or motorway service station.

Almost 2,000 lorries have been clamped since the rules came in a year ago (4138439)
Almost 2,000 lorries have been clamped since the rules came in a year ago (4138439)

"We really need to be doing far better by those drivers."

During the first full month of the trial in November 2017, 598 lorries were clamped in Ashford.

The A20 and Orbital Park were among the highest rates, as 265 lorries were clamped along the A20 and 222 in Orbital Park.

Almost a year since the trial was carried out, the number of lorries parked on the roadside significantly decreased in these areas as 168 lorries were clamped last month.

This includes 111 on the A20 and 36 at Orbital Park.

Truckers are banned from parking in the areas covered by the trial between 8pm and 7am.

If clamped, they have to pay a £150 release fee.

But the FTA say that clamping is shifting the problem elsewhere.

Council crackdown on nuisance lorry drivers parking overnight on the A20 (4228355)
Council crackdown on nuisance lorry drivers parking overnight on the A20 (4228355)

Ms Chapman added: "We are very concerned about the impact that this has on residents and we understand the distress and the concern that this causes.

"Some of these locations where clamping has been trialled are industrial estates such as the Orbital Park and actually, by shifting lorries that are parked up on industrial estate locations, they may end up parking in more residential locations which is going to have a much bigger impact on the local people."

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