Legislation to fine lorry drivers £300 for entering Kent without a permit has been brought forward by the Government.
The Department for Transport said the move will help reduce the risk of disruption after the Brexit transition period ends on December 31, as UK and EU negotiators embark on further talks over a trade deal.
Drivers embarking on cross-Channel journeys without a Kent Access Permit (KAP) will be identified before reaching the border by Automatic Number Plate Recognition cameras and will face a £300 fine.
KAPs are intended to stop the county’s roads being clogged up once customs controls with the European Union are re-imposed from January 1.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the Government is proposing to update legislation to ensure its traffic management plans “can be effectively enforced and to incentivise hauliers to ensure they are ‘border ready’ before setting off for Kent”.
He added: “New opportunities mean new ways of doing things, and it’s sensible that we plan for all scenarios, including the risk of short-term disruption to our busiest trade routes.
“By putting in place these plans, we are ensuring Kent keeps moving, our fantastic haulage industry is supported, and trade continues to flow as we embark on our future as a fully independent state.”
KAPs will be issued through the Government’s new service called Check An HGV.
This will ensure drivers have the necessary paperwork before travelling to the port, the DfT said.
The Road Haulage Association has previously described KAPs are “pointless”, saying it is “not an effective system to actually guarantee or ensure that someone is ready to cross the border”.
The Government also announced that it will prioritise the journeys of a “small number of HGVs” exporting goods that are “very time-sensitive”, such as fresh and live seafood, and day-old chicks.
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