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ON THE ROAD NEWS

Stanford West lorry park scrapped

Jan 23, 2018
In November Chris Grayling, UK Secretary of State for Transport, announced the withdrawal of the earlier decision to site a lorry park at Stanford West in Kent on the grounds that the government can no longer defend the judicial review

He said that it had not been possible to “meet our environmental obligations”.

The intention was to find a solution to Operation Stack that causes great disruption around the M20 during busy periods. Mr Grayling said that the government is immediately starting the process to promote a lorry park through the normal planning process, including a full environmental impact assessment, as a potential permanent solution to Operation Stack.

“As part of this we will reassess the scope, scale and location of our solutions, taking into account changes since the original concept of the lorry park was promoted, in particular the UK’s exit from the European Union but also the need for ‘business as usual’ lorry parking in Kent. Highways England intend to consult on the options in early 2018 with a view to submitting a planning application in 2019. Alongside this, I have tasked Highways England with developing an interim solution to be in place by March 2019. Highways England have developed a number of options that, while continuing to hold HGVs on the M20, would allow non-port traffic to continue to travel in both directions reducing the levels of traffic disruption seen in Operation Stack.”

RHA Chief Executive Richard Burnett said: “I find it beyond belief as to why the most basic of procedures, that of an environmental assessment, was not undertaken simply on the assumption that it was not needed. This facility is of massive importance to hauliers and the people of Kent. We understand that the alternatives are to extend the truck park at Manston and to utilise two lanes of the M20.”

Mr Burnett said that this ‘red-tape’ debacle is a complete disaster for hauliers coming over from the Continent. “Two years ago we saw the misery of operators who, for many days, were caught up in the gridlock of Operation Stack. Even the most basic requirements for HGV drivers such as toilet facilities and drinking water were non-existent. And for the people and economy of Kent, the cost was enormous. As Brexit approaches we are pushing hard for free-flowing customs border controls. If we cannot achieve the right Brexit deal, we could be looking at customs border queues which could potentially cause misery for hauliers and the residents and businesses of Kent. Can you imagine Operation Stack becoming a daily way of life?”

Photo: Chris Grayling, Secretary of State for Transport

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