Published: 00:01, 29 December 2015
Nearly 1,700 foreign truckers who have broken the speed limit on the A20 towards Dover have not been fined, figures from a Freedom of Information request have revealed.
The information was obtained by MP Charlie Elphicke who has slammed Kent Police for not penalising the law-breaking drivers.
It is based on a seven month period, from Wednesday, April 20 to Monday, November 16.
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The start date is important because it marks the day that the Traffic Assessment Phase (TAP) was implemented along the A20 to combat lorry gridlock.
It introduced a 40mph speed limit from the Roundhill Tunnels in Folkestone through to the Western Heights roundabout, where a set of traffic lights control the flow through to the Port of Dover.
The limit is enforced by both fixed and mobile speed cameras.
During the specified dates, 5,430 speeding offences have been committed in total, by all drivers.
Video: Hundreds of foreign truckers are avoiding speeding fines
Exactly 3,740 penalty charges were issued, and an estimated 1,690 of those drivers were in foreign registered vehicles.
This equates to 31.1% of foreign vehicles getting away with it, according to Mr Elphicke.
He said: “It is unacceptable that Kent Police have been punishing British drivers while allowing foreign drivers off scot free.
“There cannot be one rule for local motorists, and another for foreign drivers.
“A staggering amount of money has been lost through not issuing fines to foreign drivers.
“The police need to enforce the speed limit on the A20 on all drivers equally - foreign or domestic" - Charlie Elphicke MP
“Dover TAP has helped relieve gridlock in Dover town when there are problems at the port, but Dover will only be able to feel the full benefit if the 40mph speed restriction is made variable and properly enforced.
“The police need to enforce the speed limit on the A20 on all drivers equally - foreign or domestic.”
The Conservative MP added that each fine is £100, meaning that the authority has lost out on £169,000.
In 2009, Kent Police became the first force to issue roadside fines to foreign drivers.
According to the force, 10,171 fines have been so far collected in this way.
Separate figures show that during the first four months of TAP, roadside fines were only issued in 10 out of 840 cases involving foreign registered vehicles.
Roads policing chief inspector Amanda Tillotson said:
“Kent Police uses a range of methods to enforce the speed limit on the Strategic Road Network in the county including fixed average speed cameras and mobile cameras operated by the Kent and Medway Safety Camera Partnership.
“Data from these methods is sent to Kent Police’s Central Processing Unit which sends a Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP) to the registered keeper of the vehicle.
“If details of the registered keeper of the suspect vehicle are unavailable, for example, if the vehicle is foreign-registered, a decision would be made based upon the severity of the offence as to whether it is proportionate to consider further action.
"For most cases, the resources required to achieve this would be disproportionate to the offence and an NIP does not have jurisdiction in a foreign country.
"However, it does allow Kent Police to pursue drivers for more serious offences.
“Where possible, and subject to dealing with other incidents, enforcement is also carried out by roads policing officers to directly target drivers who cannot be dealt with by automated means (for example, foreign registered).
“In addition, any driver without a satisfactory UK address may be ordered to pay an on-the-spot security deposit.
"This money is retained, and used to pay any subsequent fine, if the driver fails to attend a court summons.”