Sleeping truckers could face £300 wake-up call

Trucks parked on Regent Road in Edinburgh following a protest about the rising cost of fuel.

Foreign lorry drivers who sleep in British lay-bys could be looking at a £300 fine, should government proposals come to fruition.

According to The Times, MPs are planning to introduce fines for drivers who spend two consecutive nights in their cabs and taking up roadside parking spaces.

The newspaper says the transport minister, Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, claims the penalties will be brought in if consultations with the haulage industry are successful.

The proposal is designed to tackle claims that more and more foreign truckers are camping out by the roadside in a bid to meet EU rules that state drivers must take an uninterrupted weekly break of 45 hours.

Should drivers disobey the rules in countries such as Belgium and France, they face huge financial penalties, but such measures are not currently in place in the UK.

The Times says the problem is rife near ports in southern England, where drivers are camping in their cabs to comply with the rules without fear of prosecution. The newspaper claims that some Kent residents have complained of drivers urinating in hedges, cooking on stoves in their cabs and attracting prostitutes.

A transport department spokesman told The Times: "It is important that we find an approach that combines adequate facilities with effective enforcement."

Jack Semple, the Road Haulage Association policy director, welcomed the idea, telling the newspaper: "If you drive around the South East you will see large numbers of foreign lorries parked up in often inappropriate places."