Folkestone and Hythe HGV Parking Enforcement Update
Received an interesting report from Folkestone & Hythe District Council earlier about HGV parking enforcement in the district over the last 6 months, and the likely direction of travel over coming months. I've asked and been told there is no reason I can't share it, so am! Thanks to F&HDC's Fred Miller for the report and underlying work.
I think it gives an interesting picture of the scale of the issue locally, but also that there really does need to be safe and legal places for HGV drivers to stop. Without those, HGV drivers are damned either way: if they exceed their driving hours, and if they stop to avoid exceeding them. This can only be resolved by being sufficient spaces in properly serviced parking areas: the current facilities are regularly too full.
The point of the rules over the last six months was to give an enforcable way of actually stopping HGV parking in unsuitable locations. Now the government has withdrawn that option, without clamping, the recovery rate on "tickets" issued to overseas lorries isn't great (under half issued).
As the report says "There is currently no legal process by which foreign lorry drivers can be made to pay civil penalties.". Perhaps an alternative approach would be to make one: make it a requirement that outstanding charges (including parking tickets, road tolls etc) are paid before the vehicle can leave the country (it would surely be easy to flag that at the ports?) or at the next attempted re-entry? That will require Government action, and cross-Channel operator agreement, granted, but could that be made to work?
Subject: HGV Parking Enforcement Update - End of Clamping Pilot
This report provides an update on the enforcement of the HGV parking ban. The KCC clamping pilot scheme ended on the 30th June 2021.
1. Introduction and Background
1.1 In January 2021, Kent County Council introduced a pilot HGV Parking Ban scheme. The restrictions covered the following areas:
Folkestone and Hythe
1.2 The restriction applied to Kent County Council maintained roads, 24 hours, seven days per week. The new restriction meant HGVs illegally parked could be served with a penalty charge notice and clamped.
1.3 The new restrictions superseded F&H's HGV overnight waiting ban, which covered parts of the district. All existing signs were sprayed over. New signs were installed to reflect the 24 hour restrictions.
2.1 The 6 month clamping pilot scheme, which ended on the 30th June saw the clamping of a total of 4503 HGVs in all areas, with 901 clamped in Folkestone & Hythe. The distribution by district are as follows:
- Ashford: 27%
- Dover: 22%
- Folkestone & Hythe: 20%
- Maidstone: 14%
- Canterbury: 7%
- Swale: 6%
- Thanet: 4%
2.2 77% of vehicles clamped were foreign registered, with 23% UK registered. 81% of clamps were applied overnight (2200-0600), 16% during the afternoon shifts (1400-2200) and 3% daytime (0600-1400). Thursday was the busiest day, with Sunday being the quietest.
2.3 The clamping scheme has been very successful and acted as a deterrent for repeat offenders. Very few complaints were received about illegal lorry parking during this 6 month period. Unfortunately, the DFT took the decision to end the restrictions on 30th June 2021. KCC had requested an extension of the scheme, but this was rejected.
3. What happens now?
3.1 As the traffic order for the earlier overnight waiting ban was not revoked, the district is able to revert to enforcing this restriction. Officers have asked KCC to clean/replace all signs. KCC will complete this work on the 11th July 2021 so CEOs will be deployed from the 12th July.
3.2 Officers will continue discussions with KCC to pursue another clamping scheme as issuing penalty charges alone will not resolve the illegal lorry parking problems the district faces. The council has only managed to recover around 40% of penalty charge notices issued to foreign lorries over the years. There is currently no legal process by which foreign lorry drivers can be made to pay civil penalties.