Dartford MP, Gareth Johnson, sought assurances from the Transport Minister last night that Dartford’s local residential roads would not be used as bypasses or as overnight stopping places by heavy commercial lorry drivers when the EU transition ends on December 31.
During a short debate in the House of Commons on amendments to statutory instruments on Heavy Commercial Vehicles in Kent, Mr Johnson said: “My constituency is, in many ways, the gateway to Kent from both London and Essex, via the Dartford Crossing. Will she assure me that her Department will use its best endeavours to ensure that lorries do not use local, small roads either for travelling to a different location or for parking up overnight?”
In response, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport, Rachel Maclean, said: “He and his constituents can be assured that the powers we are taking in this legislation require Kent lorries to stick to certain specified routes only if they are crossing the border. I hope that that provides him with some reassurance; I am more than happy to meet him to discuss this matter much further.”
The amendments, which extend police powers until October 2021 include being able to ask drivers to produce the correct documentation, direct them to use motorways and fines of £300 if breaches occur.
Following the debate, Mr Johnson said: “Whilst I remain optimistic we will secure a deal with the EU, if this is not possible we have to ensure local residential roads in Dartford are not used by lorries for parking up at night whilst waiting to cross the Channel. Operation Brock seeks to do this by using the County’s motorways and designated lorry sites to administer any new customs processes that are needed.”