Foreign hauliers tax plan to fund M20 lorry park

Operation Stack has already been implemented 18 times this year
Operation Stack has already been implemented 18 times this year

FOREIGN hauliers could be forced to pay a special tax to help fund a lorry park near the M20 in Kent.

Under a radical plan, county transport chiefs say a levy on the three million foreign lorries crossing the channel each year could pay for the construction of a lorry park to ease the problems caused when Operation Stack is implemented.

Kent County Council says it wants talks with transport ministers and treasury officials to discuss if a lorry park tax, that could be added on to the price of ferry or shuttle tickets, would be viable.

Meanwhile, the council has for the first time identified two possible locations for a park.

They are land next to the electricity converter station at Sellinge off the M20 near Lympne and a site close to Junction 11 of the M20. Both would be controversial because of their closeness to an Area of Outstanding National Beauty.

In a report due to be discussed by county councillors on Monday, transport chiefs say a tax on hauliers would also help meet the costs of a £6 million moveable barrier.

The barrier could be used between Junctions 11 and 12 to allow a contra-flow system on the motorway to be put in place in a matter of hours. The technology allows traffic to carry on moving while the barrier is unzipped from a single lorry.

The report by KCC transport chief Mick Sutch says: "The levy could fund all the capital costs for providing the barrier and the lorry park, as well as the associated running costs.

"With more than three million lorries annually...a relatively small levy could yield a significant amount."

He warns the prospects of getting money elsewhere are slim, saying the private sector is "unlikely to be interested" and that the Government has indicated it will not fund lorry parks.

Operation Stack has been activated 18 times this year and has left Kent Police with an overtime bill of £123,000.

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