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Freight Transport Association calls for hauliers caught up in Operation Stack to be compensated

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A haulage group is demanding compensation for lorry drivers caught up in the Operation Stack chaos.

Speaking before ministers meet in Calais today, the Freight Transport Association called for "suitable compensation" to be considered by the French government.

The trade association says freight operators should be given payouts to help cover losses caused by the controversial traffic measures.

Operation Stack on the M20. Stock picture.
Operation Stack on the M20. Stock picture.

According to the FTA, the cost to UK hauliers whose vehicles were stuck on the M20 was more than £21 million during the 28 days that Op Stack was implemented between June 23 and August 2.

That estimate does not include loss of business, spoilt cargoes, missed export deadlines or the percentage of journeys diverted.

FTA's deputy chief executive James Hookham said: "FTA is calling on the French government to consider compensation for UK freight operators to help recover some of their losses this summer due to Operation Stack.

Lorries queing coast bound between junction 9 and junction 10 in Ashford during Operation Stack
Lorries queing coast bound between junction 9 and junction 10 in Ashford during Operation Stack

"The weeks of chaos on the roads in Kent were unacceptable and we need a long-term solution to Operation Stack – this situation cannot be allowed to happen again.

"As the industrial dispute from the MyFerryLink workers has not been resolved – there is every likelihood that we could see a repeat performance before the summer is out."

Op Stack is a system which allows lorries to park on the M20 during cross-Channel disruption.

As many as 6,000 lorries were stuck on a 35-mile stretch of the M20 during the latest bout of Stack, causing chaos for truckers, freight operators, tourists and Kent businesses and residents.

It has been brought in frequently over the past month due to upheaval caused by French strikes and migrants storming the Channel Tunnel.

The FTA estimated that the crisis was costing the UK freight industry £750,000 a day, as trucks were stopped on closed sections of the major route used to access Eurotunnel and the Port of Dover.

Mr Hookham added: "FTA has calculated that the UK lorries queued during Operation Stack accounted for only 15% of all HGVs affected and therefore the wider costs to hauliers across Europe are significantly higher.

Operation Stack causing queues on the M20
Operation Stack causing queues on the M20

"So the French Government should accept that they are liable not only for the cost to British hauliers, but to all others involved."

Earlier this month, it was announced that the Manston airport site would be used as an overflow for lorries caught up in Stack.

Home Secretary Theresa May and French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve are due to meet in Calais today to agree a new deal to tackle the migrant crisis there, and to consider more security around the site where thousands of migrants are currently camped.

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