Kent

Operation Stack congestion 'lessons must be learnt', PM

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

David Cameron says lessons need to be learnt after a fire and power problems at Eurotunnel led to days of delays on the main routes to the Channel ports.

During Prime Minister's Questions, he also confirmed the current arrangements were the subject of an urgent review.

Lorry fires led to the closure of the Channel Tunnel on 17 January, affecting passengers and hundreds of hauliers.

The tunnel reopened but power supply issues caused more delays and Operation Stack was in put place on the M20.

'Long-term solution'

"It is important that we learn the lessons from this incident and if this report comes up with good suggestions then obviously we'll look at them very, very carefully," said Mr Cameron.

The prime minister was responding to Charlie Elphicke, the MP for Dover and Deal, who asked him to support a long-term solution to the problem.

During Operation Stack lorries are parked on the M20 and non-freight traffic diverted off the motorway.

At the end of January, £3m was allocated from the government's Local Growth Fund for a 3,300-space lorry park that is aimed at relieving pressure caused by Operation Stack.

Kent County Council wants to build a park at Westenhanger using its capital, as well as a £12.7m loan, to fund construction.

But the proposal has been described as "bonkers" by David Monk, Conservative leader of Shepway District Council.

Image copyright AP
Image caption The fire broke out near the French side of the Channel Tunnel on 17 January

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