Green light for Manston lorries
The government has used emergency planning powers to give the green light to a temporary lorry park at Manston.
An order laid before parliament last week grants temporary planning permission for nine months, allowing the 800acre site in Thanet to hold hundreds of HGVs when Operation Stack is in place.
The Department for Communities and Local Government acknowledged it had been unable to hold a public consultation on the emergency lorry park plan but had carried out “targeted consultation with stakeholders”.
These included the Environment Agency, Kent County Council and the Highways Agency.
There has been criticism of the decision to use Manston as a relief lorry park, with North Thanet MP Sir Roger Gale describing it as “insane”.
The emergency order replaces one that was implemented when work got under way last month preparing the airfield to accommodate lorries. That was for just 28 days and has now run out.
A memorandum on the new order states: “The site provides significant capacity, allows for control and management of the traffic flow, opportunities for separation of port and tunnel traffic and has the potential to ease congestion on the M20.”
Work preparing the site began last month. The airfield has been equipped with floodlighting and lines have been painted for spaces, while caterers, round-theclock security staff and parking marshals have been contracted.
Toilets and shower blocks have also been put on the site.
The long period of disruption caused by a record-breaking 24 days of Operation Stack in the summer came to an end at the end of July and Manston has yet to be used.
Chris and Su Bailey at Right Track Music in Ashford are part of the Small Business Saturday 100
Manston will be used to ease Operation Stack congestion