As the consultation for plans to build a major new lorry area in Kent to tackle disruption caused by Operation Stack was launched today, the Freight Transport Association (FTA) says that the solution must put a stop to future problems on Kent’s roads.
The Highways England consultation will last until 23 September. Contributors are encouraged to have their say on the design of the new Stanford West lorry area, which is being built to keep the M20 moving during disruption to cross-channel services.
FTA has been pressing for the new lorry area to be built as a matter of urgency to avoid a repeat of the chaos seen on Kent’s roads last summer when Operation Stack was implemented for a total of 32 days costing the UK freight industry £750k per day.
Natalie Chapman, FTA’s Head of Policy for London and the South East, said: “FTA is hoping that this consultation will solve the problems associated with Operation Stack.
“We have been pressing for an end to the misery for thousands of residents and businesses whose lives have been repeatedly disrupted by Operation Stack on the M20, especially last year when it was implemented on 32 days. However, the design of the lorry site is crucial to ensure that trucks can be quickly moved to the port and Eurotunnel as soon as capacity is available.”
The Government allocated £250 million for a permanent lorry area in last year’s Autumn Statement to explore additional use of the area for overnight lorry parking to relieve the problem of illegal parking in the county.
Ms Chapman added: “FTA would rather avoid Operation Stack altogether and keep the wheels of industry turning, so it is important that the lorry park doesn’t become out of sight, out of mind. We still need to tackle the causes of Operation Stack.”
Operation Stack was first introduced in 1988 during a strike at Folkestone Docks and has been frequently implemented since during disruptions at the port or Channel Tunnel. Stage 4 was put in place for the first time last summer, closing both the coast-bound and London-bound carriageways of the M20.