Battle of Portaloo: Lorry drivers in Kent forced to fight over toilets

There has been chaos in Kent with lorry drivers faced with parking shortages and poor toilet facilities. Unite the union said truckers have been involved in fights because the services have become “chronically overcrowded”, the BBC has reported. After Brexit, on 31 December last year, Kent County council was given powers to penalise lorries parking on roads and laybys, which they are intending to implement in the long-term.

According to Unite, drivers are obliged under the law to take breaks but they fear fines if they stop in certain areas. And they say they are forced to park in laybys with no toilet facilities as a result of the restrictions. The pressure on the facilities comes despite the fact that the UK is currently experiencing a lorry driver shortage, which could see gaps on supermarket shelves for months to come.

Truck driving in the UK has been dominated by Eastern Europeans over the last few years, but because of Brexit and the pandemic, there are now not enough drivers to help transport food for Brits.

Reactions

One person said: “I don’t remember fighting to take a dump being on the side of the Leave Campaign Bus yet here we are.” Meanwhile, William Oliver said Brexit is “quite literally a shitshow”, whilst Jon Newton labelled the fighting between drivers as “The Battle of Portaloo”.

I don’t remember fighting to take a dump being on the side of the Leave Campaign Bus yet here we are. https://t.co/Q6RvVOSdUq

— Jebus (@Jebus_UK) June 29, 2021

Brexit. Quite literally a shitshow. https://t.co/CqX4zswjOn

— William Oliver (@Bill_ee_O) June 28, 2021

New from Brexit: The Battle of Portaloo https://t.co/rmsREfvIXy

— Jon Newton (@MrJonNewton) June 28, 2021

Labour Councillor Catherine Glynn-Davies, who represents Broadwater on Worthin Borough Council, said: “It’s exhausting.

“How this country is suffering as a result of this Governments wilful deceit. “My MP said it would all be fine and dandy when I went to see him post referendum.” And comedy writer James Felton said: “Brexit means Brexit” could be explained as “Brexit means you might have to punch someone if you need to partake in a shit”.

It’s exhausting.

How this country is suffering as a result of this Governments wilful deceit. My MP said it would all be fine and dandy when I went to see him post referendum. https://t.co/w3rpbCKQOY

— CllrCatherine4Broadwater (@Catherine4Broa1) June 28, 2021

“Brexit means Brexit”
“Could you be a bit more specific?”
“Brexit means you might have to punch someone if you need to partake in a shit” https://t.co/mnyoWZVccN

— James Felton (@JimMFelton) June 28, 2021

What next?

Kent County Council said it is considering making the current parking restrictions “permanent”. The local authorities are currently awaiting a decision to be made by the government’s Department for Transport.

A DfT spokesperson said: “We have received a request to extend parking orders for lorries in parts of Kent. “We are also aware of concerns from the road freight industry and are considering next steps.” Meanwhile, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is considering putting drivers on the official list of occupations which experience a shortage of workers, according to The Guardian.

The newspaper has reported the UK will have a summer of food shortages because up to 100,000 lorry drivers have been lost to Brexit and Covid. Tesco, the UK’s biggest food retailer said the driver shortages are causing 48 tonnes of food waste on a weekly basis. Related: Outrage after Shapps announced only ‘UK residents’ travelling can dodge quarantine

Govt travel rules are just another xenophobic affront to our EU neighbours

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