The decision by ministers to withdraw powers from Kent County Council (KCC) to clamp HGVs parked in laybys across Kent beyond 30 June 2021 has been applauded by business group Logistics UK. As Heidi Skinner, the organisation’s policy manager for the South East, commented:
“The decision by the Department for Transport (DfT) to withdraw Kent County Council’s (KCC) clamping ban on lorry parking in laybys across several areas of Kent is great news for all those hardworking drivers who keep the country stocked with everything we need. Lorry drivers, who were deemed “essential” during the pandemic, must be able to take their legally required rests during the day without fear of prohibitions: while the existing shortage of between 1,000 and 1,200 HGV parking spaces in Kent continues, laybys are often the only option for those seeking somewhere to stop.”
Logistics UK wrote to Parliamentary Undersecretary of State Rachel Maclean MP earlier this month, to express its strong objections to KCC’s powers to clamp lorries parking for more than 45 minutes at a time in laybys across several areas of Kent. As Ms Skinner continues, the creation of new HGV parking areas must now be a priority:
“While today’s announcement is welcome, it is now vitally important that DFT works closely with KCC to create sufficient safe parking spaces. The welfare of these key workers must be a priority, to provide them with access to safe and secure parking spaces to rest – for both their welfare and to meet legally mandated rest periods from driving. The shortage of appropriate spaces is a problem which has been highlighted to government for several years now, without any significant action being taken. The Dover Straits is such a key link in the UK’s supply chain and it is imperative that those using the route can do so safely, without having to put their health or their loads at risk while in transit.”
While the removal of the clamping ban is positive news, Logistics UK continues to call on Kent County Council to listen to the views of the logistics sector through its current consultation on laybys and ensure that further restrictions and enforcement are not imposed.