Hundreds of British lorry drivers fined £300 for not having permit to drive through Kent

·3-min read
Lorries queuing to enter the Port of Dover in Kent and having their documentation inspected (SWNS)
Lorries queuing to enter the Port of Dover in Kent and having their documentation inspected. (SWNS)

Hundreds of British lorry drivers have been given £300 fines for not having a permit to enter Kent – a measure brought in due to Brexit.

Police have handed out a total of 407 penalties since the new rules came into effect when the UK stopped being under EU rules on 1 January.

Hauliers travelling from around the UK heading to France have to get a Kent Access Permit before entering the county so they can carry on their way via the Port of Dover or Eurotunnel.

The extra red tape has caused controversy and hold-ups at the border.

Watch: Daily politics briefing (January 14)

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A police officer checks a driver's Covid-19 test documentation at the entrance to the Port of Dover, southeast England, on January 4, 2021 following Britain's departure from the European Union. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP) (Photo by GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images)
Police check a driver's COVID-19 test documentation at the entrance to the Port of Dover. (Getty)

A further 152 HGV drivers were seen breaking traffic rules, including trying to get around the huge queuing system for lorries entering the port.

Lorries tried to bypass the stacked HGVs – or Operation Brock as it is known – by going down the M20 contraflow or using the A20 as an illegal shortcut, police said.

Assistant Chief Constable Claire Nix, of Kent Police, said: "Whilst the majority of HGV drivers travelling to Europe via the Port of Dover or Eurotunnel are entering the county with a valid Kent Access Permit in place, there are still too many who we are having to stop, fine and turn back to their point of origin.

"If this trend continues then it could potentially lead to traffic disruption here in Kent, where the volume of freight is expected to increase significantly over the next few weeks.

"It remains very important that companies exporting goods via Kent ports know exactly what is required of their drivers before they start their journeys, which also currently includes a negative COVID-19 test result received within 72 hours of their planned departure to France.

"This test should be taken outside of Kent at one of the more than 30 haulier advice sites located around the country that offer them, where drivers can also receive free border-readiness checks.”

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HGV drivers now need a Kent Access Permit if their vehicle is over 7.5 tonnes and leaving the UK.

The permit – which is valid for 24 hours – helps manage traffic by confirming drivers have the right documents for EU import controls, Kent Police said.

Assistant Chief Constable Nix said those who obtain a valid permit and a negative COVID-19 test result before entering Kent will be fast-tracked past any queues to the ports.

On Tuesday it was revealed British ferry passengers have had ham sandwiches and tinned sardines confiscated by customs officials at Dutch ports, due to strict rules on the import of meat, fruit, vegetables and fish from outside the EU.

Travel from the UK to the Netherlands has been limited in the first two weeks of 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic, but the Dutch customs office expects friction to increase as numbers of travellers rise.

Watch: Dutch border guards seize sandwiches

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