Over 2,000 fines have been issued to HGV drivers for not having the correct paperwork when entering Kent at the end of the Brexit period. The Kent Access Permits were mandatory for lorries heading for the EU via Kent from 1 January until 19 April.
BBC News reports that the permits were part of the Department of Transport’s (DfT) plans to help reduce disruption at then ports on the Kent coast.
The BBC sent a Freedom of Information request to the DfT, who responded and said there had been 2,174 offences during the period, each carrying a £300 penalty. It added that 2,129 of the penalties had been marked as paid, and the DfT had collected over £683,000 in fines.
The DfT insisted that the permit was a ‘sensible’ part of its plans and that it had helped ensure that hauliers who had the correct documentation could be verified and smooth smoothly through the ports.
It added that the permit was designed to prevent HGVs that were not prepared for the border from setting off and it was instrumental in avoiding delays.
The scheme was scrapped in April, and the DfT said it was no longer needed ‘thanks to hauliers arriving prepared’, and that freight levels were operating at normal levels.
However, Rob Hollyman, director of Youngs Transportation and Logistics, told the BBC that it was “absolutely scandalous it was introduced in the first place” and “simply a way of generating money for Kent.”
He said that at the time, the purpose was to reduce congestion in Kent, but it failed to reduce the number of lorries, and the policy was ‘outrageous and unnecessary and just ripping off lorry drivers’.
Duncan Buchanan, director of policy for the Road Haulage Association, said: “It was introduced because if things had gone really badly, you might have wanted to control the numbers going into Kent [but] it was never used in that way.
“It was unnecessary, it caused frustration and just ended up playing to this gallery of hostility in Kent towards lorry driving and lorry drivers.”
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