Transport Secretary has announced proposed site for Operation Stack lorry area to be created near Stanford in Kent.
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has announced that a new lorry area will be created near Stanford in Kent, to ease issues caused by Operation Stack and provide a long term solution to problems on the M20 and surrounding roads.
The new lorry area will help keep the M20 moving during cross-channel services, avoiding the level of disruption that comes with Operation Stack, which has caused issues for companies and other drivers and residents.
Operation Stack was used on a record 32 days last year as the area was hit with unprecedented disruption in the summer, which was followed by the Autumn Statement, in which the government announced it would be providing up to £250M for a permanent lorry area.
Chancellor George Osborne said: “We are taking bold action to deal with the severe inconvenience suffered by people living and working in Kent when cross-channel services are affected.
“A long-term solution that will keep traffic moving has been talked about for decades, but now we are delivering it. I look forward to construction starting as soon as possible.
Patrick McLoughlin, Secretary of State for Transport, said: “Operation Stack is only ever used as a last resort but we recognise the impact it has on roads in Kent, and are determined to deliver an alternative solution.
“The new lorry area by the M20 will deliver better journeys for drivers and will not only support the region’s economy but also businesses as far away as Scotland that rely on the M20 to access the Port of Dover and the Channel Tunnel.
“We have committed up to £250 million for the lorry area and we are now making it a reality.”
A total of 3,600 lorries will be able to park in the area, with the government looking at the idea of overnight parking to prevent drivers parking in unsuitable or illegal positions.
Balfour Beatty have been appointed as lead contractor for the project, which is west of the M20 junction 11 at Stanford West.
New entry and exit slip roads will be built on the eastbound carriageway, providing direct access to the lorry park.
Jim O’Sullivan, Highways England Chief Executive said: “The Secretary of State has asked us to progress a lorry area between Sellindge and Stanford. Direct access from the M20 means less lorries using local roads.
“We will work closely with residents and local stakeholders to ensure the design of the new lorry area minimises its social and environmental impact, while meeting the wider need to address this issue for Kent and the UK.”
Written responses were provided by 1,300 people, along with more than 1,000 drivers, residents and workers attending eight public events during the consultation on the lorry park.
The majority of people supported the idea, with less than a quarter thinking that Operation Stack should continue in its current form. The next step with be a consultation on the details and environmental impact the scheme will have.