More than 400 fines have been issued to HGV drivers who failed to obtain a valid Kent Access Permit before entering the county.
Kent Police says that, whilst the majority of drivers are continuing to arrive with a permit in place and accessing Kent’s ports smoothly, those who are not are being strongly encouraged to follow the rules to help ensure any traffic disruption is kept to a minimum with freight volumes expected to return to normal levels before the end of the month.
As of Wednesday 13 January 2021 a total of 407 Kent Access Permit offences have been identified by traffic and vehicle examiners from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) working with Kent Police officers to enforce the new legislation.
A further 152 HGV drivers were found to have breached traffic regulation orders, which include attempting to bypass the Operation Brock queue by accessing the M20 contraflow or using the A20 as an illegal shortcut.
HGV drivers must have a Kent Access Permit if they are over 7.5 tonnes and leaving the country via the Port of Dover or Eurotunnel. The permit helps manage traffic by confirming drivers have the right documents for EU import controls, and is valid for 24 hours.
Assistant Chief Constable Claire Nix is the Chair of the Kent Resilience Forum, a partnership of organisations including Kent Police, Kent County Council and Highways England that has been working closely with Government departments to plan for any traffic disruption resulting from the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union. She said, “Whilst the majority of HGV drivers travelling to Europe via the Port of Dover or Eurotunnel are entering the county with a valid Kent Access Permit in place, there are still too many who we are having to stop, fine and turn back to their point of origin.
“If this trend continues then it could potentially lead to traffic disruption here in Kent, where the volume of freight is expected to increase significantly over the next few weeks.
‘It remains very important that companies exporting goods via Kent ports know exactly what is required of their drivers before they start their journeys, which also currently includes a negative Covid-19 test result received within 72 hours of their planned departure to France. This test should be taken outside of Kent at one of the more than 30 haulier advice sites located around the country that offer them, where drivers can also receive free border-readiness checks.
“Those who obtain a valid Kent Access Permit and a negative Covid-19 test result before entering Kent will be fast-tracked past any queues to the ports.
“We in the Kent Resilience Forum have spent many months planning for the end of the EU transition period and we have appropriate plans in place to deal with any traffic disruption that may occur. We hope everyone planning to access the Port of Dover and Eurotunnel in the weeks and months to come also plays their part to help keep Kent moving.”
(Picture – Kent Police)