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Lorry park plan will ease Operation Stack nightmare

Feb 23, 2016
Proposals for a major new lorry area that would help improve Kent’s resilience when services across the English Channel are disrupted have been the subject of a consultation by Highways England that ended on 25 January 2016.
Highways England launched a consultation on two sites near junction 11 of the M20 at Stanford that could be used as an emergency facility when there are delays at the Port of Dover or Eurotunnel terminal. The chosen site may also have the additional benefit of a permanent lorry park as well as accommodating the Dover TAP (Traffic Assessment Project) – the system that avoids lorries queueing through the town when the Port of Dover is full.

The M20 was closed for 28 days last summer during disruptions to Channel crossings, causing chaos on Kent’s roads and leaving truck drivers stranded on the motorway for hours with no facilities. 

Natalie Chapman, FTA’s Head of Policy for London and the South East, said, “Kent desperately needs overnight facilities for lorry drivers to reduce the problem of trucks parking in villages and residential areas. We would urge Highways England to act quickly and consider providing a day-to-day facility for drivers that can also be used in
emergencies instead of the Dover TAP and Operation Stack. Being stuck on the motorway in a slow-moving queue plays havoc with drivers’ hours and rest breaks, so a
dedicated waiting area is vital, but it’s also important that the lorries can be moved in and out of the lorry park to access the port and Eurotunnel when spaces are available so that ferries and trains are filled to capacity.”

Roads Minister Andrew Jones said: “The government’s long-term plan is to find a solution for the hardworking people of Kent so they can continue to travel around the area freely, even when there is disruption to cross-Channel services. A new lorry area will ease congestion as well as help the road haulage companies to operate more effectively.”

Highways England Asset Manager for Kent, Kevin Bown commented: “Summer 2015 saw the longest deployment of Operation Stack in its history, and underlined the need
for long-term improvements for dealing with cross-Channel disruption. A lorry area could help significantly reduce the likelihood of having to close the M20 in the future and also has the potential to improve facilities for lorries across the county in general.”

The Chancellor announced £250k funding for a solution to Operation Stack in his Autumn Statement.

Photo: Operation Stack caused long delays on the M20 in Kent last summer.

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