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Operation Stack: £250m pledged in Autumn Statement to build lorry park, possibly at Stanford, near Ashford

By Paul Francis

George Osborne has revealed a £250 million package to find a solution to Operation Stack.

The Chancellor revealed the proposals as he set out the government’s spending plans over the next five years in the Autumn Statement.

The cash will be used to build an off-road lorry park, accessed directly from the M20 which can be used whenever delays occur.

Philip Hammond presented his first and last Autumn Statement, after deciding to scrap the event from 2017
Philip Hammond presented his first and last Autumn Statement, after deciding to scrap the event from 2017

Folkestone and Hythe MP Damian Collins said it meant the days of Operation Stack "are coming to an end".

The Treasury revealed its preferred site for the park is at Stanford, north of junction 11 of the M20 near Hythe.

It said it would reveal details of plans for a public consultation on the plans and alternatives sites shortly.

In September a working group put together a £468 million package of measures to cope with freight traffic should channel crossings be delayed.

Operation Stack between Junction 9 and 10 of the M20. Library image.
Operation Stack between Junction 9 and 10 of the M20. Library image.

Earlier this month, Mr Collins led a delegation of Kent MPs to see the Chancellor to underline the importance of solving Operation Stack to the county.

Mr Collins said: "The funding for these new facilities mean that we can keep the motorway traffic flowing in both directions even when Operation Stack is enforced.

"It will also remove the pressure on local roads, caused when restrictions on access to the motorway have been in place.

"We can also use these new facilities to end once and for all lorries parking up around local roads and residential areas, endangering other traffic and disturbing local communities.

"They can now be made to use the new parking areas off of the motorway.

"This decision is a major boost for the people of Kent and the economy, and should mean that once these facilities are completed, we will never again suffer from Operation Stack as we have in 2015.

"The days of Stack are coming to an end."

Folkestone & Hythe MP Damian Collins tweeted yesterday afternoon to say he was looking forward to an announcement about Operation Stack.

Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said: “After decades of dithering it is pleasing to see £250 million allocated to keep Kent’s roads clear when there is cross-channel disruption.

"HGVs should be parked up in permanent sites not on the motorways."

Shepway District Council leader Cillr David Monk said: "I am extremely happy with the fantastic announcement just made by the Chancellor about £250 million funding for a long term solution to Operation Stack in the Autumn Statement.

"The Chancellor’s announcement will help bring an end to the misery caused to local residents and businesses by Operation Stack and the increasing problems caused by lorries backing-up on the A20 as they head in to Dover..." - Cllr David Monk, Shepway District Council

"The Chancellor’s announcement will help bring an end to the misery caused to local residents and businesses by Operation Stack and the increasing problems caused by lorries backing-up on the A20 as they head in to Dover.

"I look forward to seeing the detail of the proposals but pledge to continue to work with the Department for Transport and Highways England to make sure that any solution minimises the impact on local people and businesses.

"In particular, I would like to thank Damian Collins our MP for his persistent and effective efforts to highlight the devastating impact that Operation Stack had on the people of Shepway and in particular for leading a deputation of 11 Kent MPs to see the Chancellor in the run-up to the Autumn Statement.”

Paul Wookey, chief executive of Locate in Kent, said the Chancellor’s announcement was vital if the county is to continue to attract investment.

He said: “One of our strongest selling points when it comes to promoting Kent and Medway to potential investors, particularly those from overseas looking to trade with Europe, is the county’s ease of access via both road and rail through the Port of Dover and Eurotunnel.

“The disruption caused by the repeated implementation of Operation Stack earlier this year can only have harmed that message, but the allocation of a substantial amount of Government funding towards a solution will go a long way to reaffirming Kent and Medway’s credentials in that area.

“With today’s commitment of £250m, we would urge all parties to work together to have a solution to Operation Stack in place as soon as possible.”

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