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Eastbound laybys along the A299 Thanet Way in Kent have reopened, which means HGVs can park along the route for the first time since it was closed off by cones on New Year’s Day.

Since January 1st, a “Prohibition of Waiting for Prohibited Vehicles” has been placed on all roads 24/7 on the above Districts and Boroughs in Kent. It effectively bans lorries from parking in almost all laybys in Canterbury, Dover, Folkestone & Hythe, and Thanet.

The move has enraged drivers, who already had enough difficulties finding parking spaces in Kent before the ban kicked in. Since the ban came into force, a number of lorries have also been clamped – even in the middle of the night.

Until today, the only exceptions to the ban have been as follows:

  • The A249 between M20 J7 and M2 J5
  • The A299 M2 J7 to junction with the A256
  • The A256 junction with A299 to junction with A2

However, the Road Haulage Association has today confirmed that the eastbound laybys along the A299 Thanet Way in Kent are now accessible to drivers. The RHA claimed in a statement that the change had come about thanks to the pressure it had put on Kent County Council.

In a letter addressed to the Neil Edwards, Traffic Manager for Kent County Council, RHA area manager Graham Pask wrote:

“The closure of the layby shows a complete lack of joined up thinking by the authorities, when you have KCC inviting drivers to park on the A299m then the same authority having closed the laybys for ‘maintenance work’. Reasoning that the hauliers should better plan their journeys so to have breaks before coming in to Kent are quite frankly insulting to the industry and shows no understanding of the logistics industry as a whole. I urge a speedy review of the parking restrictions which would take into consideration the many thousands of domestic goods vehicles trying to carry out their lawful business throughout Kent which are being impeded by the draconian actions of KCC. I would also ask for a meeting between all stakeholders to discuss this matter urgently.”

Mr Pask has also gone onto social media to encourage drivers to contact the RHA in the event they know of a UK registered truck clamped while taking a mandatory break. The RHA manager was keen to stress that the organisation is continually “banging on politicians’ doors” to put the organisation’s case across.

If any of you out there can give me genuine examples of UK trucks being clamped for parking while taking a Drivers Hours break can you please send the details to me g.pask@rha.uk.net. I know most of you think the RHA aren’t doing anything to help but we don’t stop banging on politicians’ doors to put our case across . It was us that got Jo James from the Kent Chamber of Commerce involved and we got the lay-bys on the Thanet Way reopened. We will keep on putting the case for our industry across . Without our trucks all Kent industry fails.
Meanwhile, elsewhere in Kent, slippery conditions caused by heavy snow have led to traffic disruption and accidents. An accident earlier this afternoon involving three lorries on the M20 resulted in a full closure of the carriageway in both directions.

Photo credit: Nick Smith / Geograph UK

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