News has reached us from down south.
And for those of you driving in or around Kent, in particular, this news'll be especially relevant.
A couple of councils have teamed up to tackle the problem of illegally-parked HGVs. Backed by the Department for Transport (DfT), they've put together a scheme that'll allow them to clamp and fine on a bigger scale.
Among the changes planned by Kent County Council (KCC) and Ashford Borough Council (ABC) is a new rule allowing clamps to be fitted for first-time offences.
A clampdown on illegal parking? In which areas exactly?
HGV overnight parking is banned in the following zones:
- Wotton Road;
- The Orbital Park, Sevington;
- Ellingham Industrial Estate;
- Ashford Business Park, Sevington; and
- The A20 between Charing and Ashford.
Across these zones, the ban is in place from 8pm to 7am Monday to Friday; on the industrial estates, for 24 hours on Saturdays and Sundays.
Some of you will know, of course, that overnight wagon parking's been banned at Orbital Park and Ashford Business Park for quite a while now (since 2004, in fact). But the council's been unable to enforce it properly due to limited access to registered keeper details - meaning some overseas-registered lorries couldn't be penalized in the usual way.
As a result, collection agencies on the continent had to be retained to locate the offending drivers and collect the fines.
KCC's cabinet member for transport, Matthew Balfour, says:
"Under this new scheme we can clamp lorries that are flouting the ban, fine them and charge them to remove the clamp.
"The order will not allow any overnight parking of HGVs along the A20 between and including Charing and the Drovers Roundabout and this will extend for some distance along adjoining roads to stop HGVs simply moving further on."
What do you reckon? Is this overkill, or is it justified?
How will it affect you, as you're scouting about Kent for a place to bunk over the busy festive season?
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