More than 2,000 fines issued to drivers over Brexit lorry permits

More than 2,000 fines were issued to lorry drivers for not having the right paperwork to enter Kent at the end of the Brexit transition period.

Kent Access Permits were mandatory for EU-bound heavy goods vehicles entering Kent from 1 January until 19 April.

The Department of Transport (DfT) said the permit was part of its plans to mitigate disruption at ports.

Rob Hollyman, director of Youngs Transportation and Logistics, called it "outrageous and unnecessary".

Responding to a Freedom of Information request, the DfT told the BBC there had been 2,174 offences, each carrying a £300 penalty.

It said 2,129 had been marked as paid and more than £638,000 of fines had been collected.

The DfT said the permit had been a "sensible" part of its plans and "helped ensure that hauliers who had the correct customs documentation could verify this and move smoothly through our trading ports".

It said the permit was designed to prevent HGVs that were unready for the border from setting off and was "instrumental in avoiding delays".

'Ripping off drivers'

The scheme was scrapped in April, with the DfT saying it was no longer needed "thanks to hauliers arriving prepared" and due to freight volumes operating at "normal" levels.

But Mr Hollyman told BBC Radio Kent it was "absolutely scandalous it was introduced in the first place" and "simply a way of generating money for Kent."

He said the purpose given at the time was to reduce congestion in Kent but "it didn't reduce the number of trucks, it was outrageous and unnecessary and just ripping off lorry drivers".

Duncan Buchanan, director of policy for the Road Haulage Association, said: "It was introduced because if things had gone really badly, you might have wanted to control the numbers going into Kent [but] it was never used in that way.

"It was unnecessary, it caused frustration and just ended up playing to this gallery of hostility in Kent towards lorry driving and lorry drivers."

Source: BBC News