Kent County Council still committed to building Operation Stack lorry park
The proposed site of the
Operation Stack lorry park
Kent County Council says it remains committed to building a
lorry park off the M20 near Ashford to deal with Operation
The council said a year ago it expected to submit a detailed
planning application for the 70-acre lorry park but to date no such
application has been made.
It is now eight years since KCC first suggested the idea of a
lorry park but bringing the plan to fruition has been blighted by
uncertainties over who would pay and opposition to the location off
the M20 at Aldington.
Operation Stack was triggered last week for the first time in
two years due to the blizzard conditions on the continent.
KCC insisted its lorry park plan remained a priority and the
subject would be on the agenda at a meeting with transport
ministers later this month.
The Kent branch of the Council for The Protection of Rural
England (CPRE) said the park plan was the wrong option and risked
destroying the countryside.
Cllr Bryan Sweetland (Con), KCC cabinet member for transport,
said: "Over the last year, we have undertaken further work to
identify a permanent solution to Operation Stack in order to
minimise the severe impact on Kent business and residents.
Operation Stack was set
up for the first time last week in two years
"We have also been working with the Port of Dover and Eurotunnel
to expand their lorry holding areas, reducing the potential number
of times that Operation Stack is called.
"However, we have always been consistent in our position that a
solution must be funded by central government."
He added KCC was continuing to press the government to fund the
proposal from money it would get from charging foreign hauliers to
use the UK's motorways.
"A network of professionally-run lorry parks throughout the
county and beyond is also desperately needed. We are meeting with
ministers again at the end of April to progress this further."
The Kent CPRE said in a statement: "We believe a lorry park on
agriculturally-valuable land at Aldington would be incredibly
flawed, especially when the real problem is still another 15 miles
down the M20 towards Dover.
"It is the Port's inability to cope with incoming traffic which
leads to this situation, so they should be building a lorry park to
free the M20 and the people of Kent from Operation Stack."
KCC has drawn up what it describes as a "no frills" option for
its park plan which it claims would reduce the costs, estimated at
between £25m and £30m.
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