Published: 19:23, 19 January 2021
| Updated: 20:04, 19 January 2021
Lorry drivers may be fined for arriving in Kent without having a negative Covid test.
It is to prevent traffic snarl-ups on the UK/EU border.
The Department for Transport has confirmed to KentOnline that it is considering a £150 penalty, similar to that for not having a Kent Access Permit when entering the county.
Officials say that will only happen if it's considered necessary due to high levels of trucks entering Kent without the right test.
They say they have been working with key stakeholders on how to use existing Brexit legislation to do this.
The demand is to have had a negative coronavirus test within the previous 72 hours.
A DfT spokesman said: “Hauliers looking to cross the Channel should take their Covid-19 test before they enter Kent to help traffic flow.
“While we’re pleased many hauliers have heeded our calls to use 34 testing sites we’ve set up across the country, too many are still entering Kent without having taken a test and received a negative result.
"With traffic volumes expected to grow over the coming week, we are considering stronger measures to ensure flow.
“We welcome views from industry on how a new potential fine can best be introduced, but if hauliers continue to ignore the requirement to get a negative test before entering Kent, then fines may become necessary.”
France is now demanding that nobody enters its country without having had a negative Covid test in the previous 72 hours.
Dover is already prone to port-bound traffic chaos for various reasons.
But last month pandemonium was caused when the French completely shut their borders to keep out a new variant of the virus that had emerged from Kent.
It led to drivers being stranded outside the port for days.
The frontier was reopenedon condition that those coming to France had a negative result.
Even without Brexit and coronavirus port-bound traffic can be affected by strikes in Calais or severe weather disrupting ferry services.
The Road Haulage Association has been contacted to comment on the possible £150 fines.