Kent

Operation Stack: Cross-Channel lorry park 'supported'

Operation Stack Image copyright PA
Image caption During Operation Stack, lorries are parked on the M20 and non-freight traffic diverted off the motorway

A new 1,000-space lorry park to help reduce congestion from queuing lorries on the M20 and in Dover has local support, an MP says.

Charlie Elphicke, Conservative MP for Dover and Deal, said Shepway District Council supported the plans for a smaller lorry park at Westenhanger.

The council's leader had previously branded a proposed 3,300-space lorry park as "bonkers".

Lorries are allowed to park on the M20 when there are delays at Channel ports.

Operation Stack 'intolerable'

The proposed lorry park is aimed at relieving pressure caused by Operation Stack, when trucks are allowed to queue due to delays at Channel Tunnel and ferry ports.

Mr Elphicke said: "We've had major problems in Dover in recent months because of the level of gridlock, which is a weekly occurrence.

"We need a long term solution. There is a site near Folkestone which could be the site with up to 1,000 lorry parking spaces.

"[Shepway] District Council is supportive and I'm making the case it should be advance check-in, before lorries go down to the Eastern Docks.

"There would be 1,000 spaces in the Eastern Docks and 1,000 spaces near Folkestone which would be enough capacity not to cause gridlock in Dover."

A spokeswoman said Shepway council was "driving plans" for a lorry park with about 1,000 spaces.

She said the authority was looking at land near Westenhanger and was talking to local land owners.

Councillor Paul Carter, Conservative leader of Kent County Council, said problems arising from Operation Stack were "intolerable" to the people of Kent.

He said: "We need national government to fund what is needed to get the private sector to operate those lorry parks.

"Recently, the government introduced charging for foreign lorries using our roads, and I believe a substantial amount of the money should be used to fund these lorry parks."

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