County coun­cil sets its sights on lorry hold­ing sites

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Operation Stack Solution? -

Hauliers have urged the gov­ern­ment to “seize the mo­ment” and ac­cept a £468 mil­lion pack­age of mea­sures that could solve Op­er­a­tion Stack.

A work­ing group has put for­ward the mul­ti­mil­lion-pound mas­ter­plan fol­low­ing the pro­longed pe­riod of dis­rup­tion over the sum­mer.

Kent County Coun­cil has con­firmed it is look­ing at pos­si­ble sites for a lorry hold­ing area for up to 4,000 lor­ries close to the M20 – one of the key pro­pos­als.

Bar­bara Cooper, the au­thor­ity’s eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment di­rec­tor, told county coun­cil­lors dis­cussing the idea yesterday (Wed­nes­day): “There are sites be­ing looked at but we can­not say where be­cause ne­go­ti­a­tions are go­ing on. We do have op­tions and the gov­ern­ment is very keen that we see progress on some of these by next April.”

Natalie Chap­man, head of pol­icy at the Freight Trans­port As­so­ci­a­tion, said: “There is cer­tainly a feel­ing we need to use the time to get some real so­lu­tions be­cause this is some­thing that will rear its head again.

“What we do know is that the im­pact does not stop at the M20.

“It is on the na­tional econ­omy, and when the gov­ern­ment in Scot­land takes an in­ter­est, you know this is not just a prob­lem for the south east and Kent.

“What we ideally want is some­where for HGVs to park up off the M20, on a site that needs to be close, and some­thing which al­lows traf­fic to keep mov­ing.”

Haulage groups es­ti­mated the sum­mer dis­rup­tion cost those com­pa­nies caught up in the op­er­a­tion £700,000 a day and £250m to the UK econ­omy as a whole.

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