By Local Democracy Reporter Ciaran Duggan
Lorry drivers could be slapped with fines of up to £300 when journeying to Europe and back unless they have a Kent travel pass after Brexit.
The tough enforcement measure has been laid down by the government. The aim is to reduce congestion between the UK and French borders from hauliers not having the right documents at the Channel Tunnel.
Under Whitehall plans, a lorry driver will be required to use an online portal to answer some questions before being issued with a Kent Access Permit to instruct them to carry on their journey via the Port of Dover and Eurotunnel.
Bosses at Logistics UK, a major national haulier company which runs services in Kent, notably Unipac Shipping in Staplehurst, said drivers were shocked to hear they would be personally penalised if the new laws are not adhered to.
Chris Yarsley, who is the policy manager for road infrastructure at logistics UK, said: “Our members are dismayed that the onus for compliance will be placed on drivers themselves, leaving them personally liable for a fine if they do not comply with the new rules.”
Last month, cabinet minister Michael Gove revealed that hauliers crossing the English Channel would need a pass to enter Kent if the Government fails to sign off on a deal with the European Union (EU) by the end of December.
The Prime Minister wants to avoid a “reasonable worst-case scenario” of queues of up to 7,000 trucks at the UK-EU border.
A Kent County Council (KCC) paper was yesterday sent to all 81 elected members to explain the latest plans on a national and local level for the EU transition phase, which is due to end on December 31, 2020.
The report was jointly prepared by KCC leader Roger Gough (Con) and Maidstone County Hall’s corporate director of transport Barbara Cooper.
In the 12-page dossier, they say: “The Government is clear that it wants to deter unready trucks from entering Kent.
“In essence, the Government does not want hauliers to attempt to cross the short straits if traders have not completed the necessary EU formalities to ensure their goods can successfully cross the border.
“Automating readiness is a key plank of the Government’s plans.”
However, Mr Yarsley said he was frustrated with the bureaucracy, adding: “It is disappointing to see that the government is expecting significant friction at the border with the EU, after the logistics industry had been given previous reassurances that friction would be minimised.”
He added: “The proposals create an internal UK border by introducing Kent access permits, adding more red tape to the work which hauliers will be obliged to comply with.”
The Logistics UK boss has pressed the Government to “reassure” hauliers that a new online system, which lorry drivers will need to use to upload their completed border documents, will be ready to use on January 1, 2021.
However, the Kent access pass is just one of at least three different permits that will be available in the UK to hauliers travelling in and out of the country.
At Ebbsfleet, the railway station’s car park D will be used as a 253-lorry park and customs checkpoint for access to a “unique” permit for “priority” goods heading out of the UK, such as Scottish fish and day-old chicks.
In east Kent, hauliers with at least five lorry vehicles will be given a “local permit” used to travel through the short Straits. The short Straits are channel crossings at Calais, Dunkirk and Coquelles to and from Dover and Folkestone.
Having these permits should allow these drivers to head straight to the ports without joining the back of queues on the M20, say government officials.
Councillors will discuss Kent’s preparedness for Brexit at a virtual public meeting of KCC’s full council next Thursday (Oct 22).
A £300 fine for not having the right documents together with a fine already in existence for bringing in illegal immigrants if found on the drivers vehicle. An expensive journey and a lot of responsibility placed upon drivers. How will the Government enforce the fines on continental drivers. Payment up front ?
“Having these permits should allow these drivers to head straight to the ports without joining the back of queues on the M20, say government officials”
Until they reach the back of the queue with all the other drivers, who also have the correct permit, and supporting documents.
As usual, not very well planned, basically a choice of which queue to join.
But I thought that Brexit was a brilliant deal?
Of course it’s a brilliant deal! It’s “world-beating” “oven -ready” “the easiest deal in the world!”
This is so disappointing! For some inexpicable reason people are refusing to believe a word Boris Johnson says!
At least he is now saying we should get an “Australian-style deal” with the EU ,which sounds OK as Australia is a reasonably successful economy, but now the usual spoilsports are saying that Australia hasn’t got a deal with the EU anyway.
So an “Australian-style deal” is actually no deal at all!
Just Johnson’s way of trying to cover up his mess!
Now they are calling him the “Portaloo Premier” as if he belongs in a toilet. Sigh! It all started so well!
I tried selling portable toilets once, but it didn’t work out, so that all went down the pan.
According to Boris the UK will “prosper mightily” from a no deal Brexit. Someone may actually believe him.
A few more EU lovers everything is in place they have all been warned many times to prepare.There would no need for all these lorries on our roads before the EU and earlier our roads were not congested as at all ports goods containers were unloaded at rail heads then sent to other railheads in the country to be delivered in local areas.Today it’s a nimby country that won’t allow railheads to be built at the same time constantly complain about our roads and motorways have to Many lorries causing congestion.
A vast amount of freight is transported through the Tunnel by rail freight. It goes to massive rail heads like those at Southamoton, Felixtowe and the East Midlands.
Interestingly those rail freight interchanges that have been built have attracted funding from the EU as that was something the Commission wished to see develop.
As Manston is to be turned into a massive lorry park called “The Farage Garage” will all the portaloos on the roads down to Dover be called the “Jacob Rees-Boggs”?
Each ferry is capable of carrying 185 trucks, they do 4to 5 sailings each per 24 hours, it would mean that every crossing would need to be full to cause tailbacks
Whether or not there are tail backs depends on delays at the border control. Currently there are none.
After 31st Dec, who knows? Despite Boris telling us at the beginning of the year we had a done deal and an oven ready Brexit.
It would seem that in this (and many other) respects, Boris’ powers of clairvoyance have let him (and us) down.