Some of you'll be familiar with the Great Kent In-Cab Clampdown announced back in December.
What was it? Well, two Councils - Kent County and Ashford Borough - banned overnight parking from a number of areas as part of a county-wide pilot scheme.
That would seem sufficient. But, wouldn't you know it, the clampdown's getting an upgrade.
Offending wagon drivers will now face increased fines: from £40 per infringement to an eye-watering £150.
But this is the first we've heard of it. Surely it's still in the planning stage...
Unfortunately not. The Department for Transport's already given the nod of approval. The additional money, they say, is basically an admin fee - to cover the cost of issuing and processing the penalties.
However the FTA have, shall we say, questioned the efficacy of such a measure.
The association's Policy Manager for the South East, Heidi Skinner, reckons the move is too fast and too severe. She said:
"We are shocked by Ashford Borough Council’s decision to increase fines in this way with so little warning or consultation. The clamping scheme has only been in place for a couple of months, so making such a dramatic increase so quickly and with very little warning is excessive. Truck drivers keep Britain trading by providing a public service, helping to keep all of us supplied with food and other goods. They shouldn’t be penalised in this way."
Because there are so few places to park your truck legally, the new plan will only punish drivers, as opposed to offering them an alternative. This lack of consideration and/or logic in regard to drivers' issues is precisely the reason the industry's struggling to bring in new blood.
Ms. Skinner continued:
"FTA understands the concerns of Ashford residents, but nobody wants to spend the night parked in a layby or on the roadside, it’s unsanitary and in many cases unsafe for drivers who have valuable goods in their vehicles. Truck drivers are skilled professionals who are required by law to take regular breaks. The government and local authorities need to take action to ensure there are enough clean, secure facilities for them to park overnight before introducing such harsh penalties."
The solution should be simple: provide enough proper facilities for waggoners, and illegal hgv parking (as well as Ashford residents' grievances) will end. But as we know, councils are much keener on gathering coin than they are on throwing it about.
Among State institutions, they are unique in that respect.
Same grief, different year. Legislate for legistlation; send the bill to the working man.
How about a timeout from the rigmarole?
Our Drivers' Hours expert Chris Allen is running a WTD webinar this week. He machetes his way through the dense jungle of Working Time regulations, so you don't have to.
Sound good? Secure your place here: