Lorry drivers who clog up roads near the Channel ports face a £300 fine under a new permit scheme proposed by Government. The Department for Transport (DfT) is consulting on regulations to ensure lorries can’t bypass traffic management queues – and that checks take place away from the border. The announcement follows another weekend of gridlock in Dover, and demands to ministers for a solution that I made again this week.
According to DfT, number plate recognition cameras will be used to enforce compliance, while traffic officers will get new powers to require drivers to present documents proving they are ready to proceed to ports. The checks would take place in the Operation Brock queuing area, with drivers prohibited from entering the queuing area without a permit showing they had joined via the M26.
DfT proposes a number of roads having access for those displaying a permit, including parts of the M20, the A2, the A256 and the A299. Some roads will have unrestricted access to allow movement between queues, but cross-Channel HGVs will be prohibited from using all other roads when Operation Brock is in place.
This news is long overdue but very welcome. For too long lorries have clogged up Kent roads, causing misery for local drivers. I have always argued that a ticket system enforced with technology should not be beyond us. And that checks can easily take place away from the ports.
Yet I do still have concerns. I want to see this scheme applied when Dover TAP is in place, not just for Operation Brock. Last weekend Dover was gridlocked yet again by vehicles bypassing the TAP queue. And I want to see real investment in the roads themselves – lorry parks further up the M20, the A2 dualled from Lydden to the port. Only these things will end years of frustration for people across east Kent.