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Manston airport owners say use former airport as lorry park in place of Operation Stack

A suggestion that the former Manston airport could be used as an emergency lorry park during Operation Stack has been described as idiotic and insane by an MP.

The owners of Manston airport say they are prepared to use the site as an emergency lorry park when Operation Stack is implemented.

The idea has been floated by Folkestone and Hythe MP Damian Collins and the leader of Kent County Council, Paul Carter.

But North Thanet MP Sir Roger Gale has poured cold water on the idea.

"Manston Airport is in completely wrong location, too far from Dover, further still from the Channel Tunnel and off the wrong motorway system. Added to which the roads approaching Manston Airport are not suited to an influx of hundreds of articulated trucks.The idea is idiotic and it is dead in the water."

He added: "It appears to have escaped Mr Carter`s notice that Thanet embraces a number of seaside resorts that are in the process of regenerating our tourist trade and the last thing that the area needs is to have our roads clogged up with heavy traffic that is not, as a destination, heading for Thanet during the height of the tourist season – or at all."

Spokesman for the owners of Manston, Ray Mallon, said: “Clearly urgent action is needed to alleviate the problem and it is incumbent upon all who can offer emergency relief, to do so.

Trevor Cartner and Chris Musgrave own 80% of the Manston site.
Trevor Cartner and Chris Musgrave own 80% of the Manston site.

"If Stone Hill Park is approached by national Government or by Kent Police to assist in dealing with the problem then we will do so in any way we can, as the circumstances before us are exceptional indeed.”

“The strike action in Calais is having a very serious affect on the local economy, with the gridlock of traffic on the M20 and surrounding roads of particular concern. The daily cost of the strike action to the Uk economy as a whole is an estimated £250m.”

“In addition, we must not lose sight of the hardship being faced by thousands of truck drivers who are having to spend up to 26 hours in their stationary vehicles and the extra demands on local police resources that this whole situation has caused.”

He cautioned that issues around access needed consideration.

Thanet council would also need to be in agreement and disruption to local people mimimised.

Manston closed a year ago this month
Manston closed a year ago this month

“Obviously there are a number of issues that would need to be addressed before any heavy goods vehicles could park on the Stone Hill Park site, not least having the full agreement of Thanet council and ensuring that disruption to local people is kept to a minimum.

"There would also need to be the necessary facilities for drivers as well as ensuring the safe passage of vehicles from the M20. "

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