We have questioned whether it is sensible to rely on a huge lorry park in the Kent countryside as a solution to Operation Stack when it may well only be used for a very few days each year.
While recognising that last summer’s unprecedented disruption caused by Operations Stack was totally unacceptable, we believe a longer term, more creative and sustainable solution is required.
Director Hilary Newport said: “We do not think that a single huge lorry park, which may only be called into use for a few days – if at all – in any year is the answer. A better solution would offer real resilience to the logistics industry now and into the future and help not just Kent but the whole country cope with disruption, strikes or emergency, such as extreme weather, fire or security threats.”
Not only that but other problems need to be addressed including roadside parking of HGVs with the associated litter and noise; noise and air pollution caused by engines running in slow-moving traffic jams or when stationary to keep refrigeration units running; disproportionate wear and tear on Kent’s roads.
CPRE Kent contends that instead of the expensive and damaging construction of a single lorry park, investment should be made to:
- Support a network of dispersed, serviced truck stops which operate on a commercial basis and which have some degree of overflow capacity in the event of disruption to the channel crossings. Many shippers prohibit trucks stopping within 120km of Calais. Similar measures should be employed to hold vehicles outside the Channel Corridor until called forward
- Incentivise the use of alternative ports of entry and exit (such as Newhaven, Ramsgate, Sheerness, Dartford, Portsmouth, Purfleet), as well as modal shift away from road-based freight – this would also have the additional benefit of reducing reliance on the Dartford crossings
- Incentivise shippers to return to unaccompanied trailer operations across the Channel which would also boost UK employment of HGV drivers and reduce emissions
- Work with the logistics industry, fleet operators and drivers to implement ‘smart queuing’ – smart phones, GPS and communications technology should remove the need for drivers to be nearest the front of any physical queue in Kent, when they could be called forward from dispersed locations further afield and guaranteed timely passage across the channel.
- Implement ‘quick wins’ – we support the expansion of the existing Stop24 truck facility south of the M20 at J11, which could rapidly provide a partial solution.
Dr Newport said: “With modern technology and sophisticated international business operations, we are sure there is a better solution than allowing all the lorries to build up in Kent with no other way of reaching Europe than the Dover/ Folkestone to Calais crossings.”
To read CPRE Kent’s full position paper click here.
To read our consultation response, submitted 25th January 2016, click here.
January 25th 2016