End to Stack in sight
Operation Stack solutions to be announced in weeks
HOPES are rising that a solution to Operation Stack has been found after county council chiefs met Transport Minister and Kent MP Dr Steve Ladyman.
County transport chiefs have identified two potential sites for a semi-permanent lorry park close to the M20, neither of which is on protected land or Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, meaning they could be more easily developed as a lorry park.
KCC said it would not identify either site at this stage to allow talks with other organisations, including local councils, to take place.
However, an announcement on the way forward is expected to be made within weeks.
Cllr Keith Ferrin (Con), KCC’s cabinet member for transport, said: “I believe we have turned a corner and are on course to seeing the end of Operation Stack. The talks we had were very productive and we are pleased with the outcome.”
The Government will also announce the green light for a sep- arate proposal for the quickchange moveable barrier, which is likely to be available earlier than a park. This would be a barrier of concrete units which could be “unzipped” by a lorry along the worst-affected stretches of the motorway.
While the costs are high – £5.2million for the stretch between Junctions 11 and 12 of the M20 and £6.9million for Junctions 8 to 9 – it could be put in place in under three hours and could also be used during major roadworks elsewhere.
Dr Ladyman said: “We had a very constructive meeting. Both KCC and I are in agreement about what we need to do and the time scale in which it should happen.
“But we do need to consult with others, like Kent Police and district councils first.”