Published: 00:01, 17 October 2017
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 in Ashford.
But frustrated lorry driver Mason Stephens, who set off from Ashford for Milan last week, 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.”