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Big fines and calls for HGV drivers to be “Covid test-ready”

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HGV drivers in Kent have been fined more than £32,000 since 1st January 2021.

Since the UK left the single market, new rules have come into play for HGV drivers crossing the border between the UK and France.

In just one week, more than 80 enforcement notices were issued to drivers without a Kent Access Permit (KAP) and a number of drivers were found breaching traffic orders (such as trying to dodge the queue or taking a shortcut).

As of Wednesday 6th January, a total of 113 fines had been issued at a cost of £32,100.

Each KAP that is issued lasts 24 hours and drivers are required to get a new permit every time their HGV leaves Great Britain.

However according to a police statement, the vast majority of drivers heading to Dover are doing so with the right documents and following the necessary rules.

Hauliers are also being advised by the Department for Transport (DfT) to make sure HGV drivers have a Covid test prior to travelling to France. It has said that any drivers arriving in Kent without proof of negative test results will face delays.

The DfT is supporting hauliers to set up their own testing facilities, providing free test kits and training.

Ben Rimmington, co-director of road safety, standards and services at DfT has revealed plans for a ‘fast track’ system for HGV drivers with proof of a negative Covid test and a slow lane for anyone unable to prove they have had a test in the past 72 hours.

Rimmington has urged HGV drivers to arrive “Covid test-ready” and has hinted a charge could be introduced for drivers who need to be tested at the border.

The volume of freight leaving the UK is usually low at the start of the year. However, that volume is expected to increase over the coming weeks so hauliers and HGV drivers need to be prepared.

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