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Aycliffe resident left frustrated by lorries beeping throughout the night during A20 TAP, and bottles of urine being thrown into her garden


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A mum-of-two from Aycliffe has spoken out after her children were kept awake by enraged lorry drivers travelling to the Dover port and Eurotunnel.

Hayley Townsend, of King Lear's Way, lives a stone's throw from the A20, where the Dover Traffic Assessment Project(TAP) held lorries for four days in a row last week.

Hayley's house looks out onto the A20
Hayley's house looks out onto the A20

She moved there in June 2019 and was prepared for normal road noise and potential pollution issues but has ended up having to routinely contend with sleepless nights.

The 39-year-old said: "You've got to take it on the chin when you want cheap rent but at the same time I didn't expect the beeping at 4 o'clock in the morning.

"I've got two kids under the age of six. It's a nightmare - they're constantly being woken up."

Hayley said the beeping regularly erupts at all hours of the day when TAP is in force, as impatient lorry drivers skip the left-hand lane queues and travel down the right-hand lane instead.

She said: "The beeping is because the lorries are overtaking into the second lane, then the lorry drivers get frustrated because there's obviously a queue, and they beep consistently until the lorry has passed.

The Dover TAP scheme on the A20 at Aycliffe. Picture: Highways England
The Dover TAP scheme on the A20 at Aycliffe. Picture: Highways England

"Out of the whole of Aycliffe I'm the closest to the road you can get – there's literally a wall between us.

"Surely there's something that can be done about them using the two lanes? That would completely stop it. I feel for the drivers who are sat there."

It is understood that lorry drivers spotted skipping the queue by Port of Dover Police are directed back up the A20 to rejoin the queue.

A spokesperson from The Port of Dover said: "It's a Port of Dover police operation and they're doing everything they can to prevent this from happening."

Hayley even went to the lengths of downloading a noise app to capture the noise of articulated lorries beeping during the early hours to present to Dover District Council's noise team.

Lorries queue at Eurotunnel last week. Picture: Barry Goodwin
Lorries queue at Eurotunnel last week. Picture: Barry Goodwin

Her Noise Meter phone app registered decibel levels of around 70 to 80, which she showed to council officers.

She said: "I used it the other day and the beeping at 4 o'clock in the morning exceeds what was acceptable but when I spoke to the council regarding it, they said because it was short periods of time it was irrelevant.

Dover District Council has been approached for comment.

Noise is not the only consequence of TAP for Hayley and her two children.

She said: "I'm sick to death of bottles of wee being thrown in my garden. But what can you do? You've got to so somewhere.

"I don't understand why the bottles of wee need to be thrown over the wall."

"I moved into the property last June and my garden was derelict. When I'd completely gutted it out we counted something like 104 bottles of wee.

"I don't understand why the bottles of wee need to be thrown over the wall."

Cllr Chris Precious, of Town and Castle Parish Ward, said the issue of urine and excrement being left behind by drivers in the TAP queue has been a problem for years: "It's a fairly regular thing, it happens nearly everytime there's a hold back."

The councillor is also concerned about the effect on residents leading up to Christmas and into the new year.

He said: "We've had four days of it, this week we have the M20 being closed deliberately to test the moveable barrier.

Cllr Precious said lorries on the A20 have been a problem for Aycliffe residents for years
Cllr Precious said lorries on the A20 have been a problem for Aycliffe residents for years

"Between now and Christmas is not going to be pleasant for Aycliffe."

The larger volumes of lorry traffic than usual have been attributed to the pre-Christmas rush, stockpiling and coronavirus vaccine delivery.

Highways England has been conducting live tests since Friday night on the M20, testing the moveable barrier as part of preparations to implement Operation Brock.

The trials are being carried out in preparation for the Brexit transition on January 1, and Highways England has said "Operation Brock needs to be active by December 31".

Designed to limit disruption on Kent's roads if there are problems at the Channel ports once the Brexit transition period ends on December 31, Brock is an alternative to Operation Stack, which closed sections of the M20 completely.

"The only people I really blame is the government because they've known this problems is on this road for 15 years now and they've never managed to do anything."

But Cllr Precious said the port-bound traffic issues on the A20 snaking past Aycliffe should have been resolved years ago - and with Brexit on the horizon, it is not yet clear whether Operation Brock will improve the situation for locals.

He said: "The only people I really blame is the government because they've known this problems is on this road for 15 years now and they've never managed to do anything.

"Temporary traffic lights are not a solution to anything."

Meanwhile, people living in Folkestone Road, Dover, the B2011, which runs parallel to the A20, are equally fed up, as their road is used by drivers trying to avoid the Dover TAP queues.

They say the route is often clogged up by HGVs and is noisy throughout the night.

Martin Bowman: "Residents are tired of nobody listening." Picture from Martin Bowman (43520437)
Martin Bowman: "Residents are tired of nobody listening." Picture from Martin Bowman (43520437)

Folkestone Road resident Martin Bowman said: "You have the noise of lorries rumbling past into the evening.

"You can particularly hear it when the drivers put on their air brakes coming down the hill. You certainly can't open your windows in the summer."

In a letter to Highways England and Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, Mr Bowman wrote: "This is not a suitable road for the volume of HGV traffic and causes congestion outside residents' properties both day and night and within the town in general.

"The residents of Dover are tired of nobody listening to local issues and the focus has only been given to the wider area of Kent."

He said a solution would be to prevent HGVs exiting the A20 onto the B2011 by manning the junction with police or traffic officers whilst TAP is active.

An HGV seen from Mr Bowman's home. Picture: Martin Bowman
An HGV seen from Mr Bowman's home. Picture: Martin Bowman

"This is quite simple but requires somebody in power with guts to take action," he added.

Read more: All the latest news from Dover

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