Last night the scenes at Kent’s Ashford Truckstop were an HGV driver’s nightmare as over 200 trucks were turned away because of the lack of parking space.
Commenting, RHA chief exec Richard Burnett said: “This clearly underlines the lack of even the most basic of facilities for HGV drivers who need to rest at the end of their shift. No driver wants to spend the night in a layby – it’s both unsafe and unhygienic. But for those who are unable to get into an official truckstop there is no alternative. The additional stress that this causes HGV drivers is both unnecessary and avoidable.”
According to Ashford Truckstop’s general manager, Darren Smith: “By 18.30 we had received over 90 reservations – usually around 20-30 by the end of the night. By 19.30pm we had to turn away 252 trucks - a record to say the least.
“We have applied for permission to establish an additional 300 parking spaces but that won’t relieve the immediate problem.”
Those that are turned away from official rest areas will have had no alternative but to spend the night in their cabs, in public lay-bys, on or close to public roads or on motorway slip roads - many facing fines and prohibitions.
Richard Burnett continued: “With Christmas just over 7 weeks away the levels of traffic journeying across the Channel will increase dramatically and the amount of HGVs on Kent roads in particular will intensify. But what are those drivers, unable to get into a lorry park to do? The refusal of local authorities to acknowledge this serious problem are simply putting the safety of drivers and their loads at risk.
“What employer would ask their staff to spend the night, in their car, in a layby? For the thousands of HGV drivers responsible for moving 90% of the UK economy, there is simply no choice.”