Shock as Whitehall refuses to pay £570k Stack costs
Kent taxpayers will have to pick up the bill for policing Operation Stack after the government refused to pay.
The county’s crime commissioner Ann Barnes applied to the Home Secretary to cover the £576,925 cost of enforcing the controversial system last year.
She has now expressed her “utter surprise and disappoint- ment” after Theresa May turned down the request.
The t raf f i c management scheme, which allows lorries to park on the M20 while they wait to cross the Channel, was implemented several times last year.
It caused chaos for residents, motorists and lorry drivers, particularly between June 23 and August 2, when it was in place for 28 days in a row.
At peak times, there were 112 members of Kent Police working on the operation every 24 hours.
Mrs Barnes sent a letter to the policing minister Mike Penning MP in November, requesting reimbursement under the Home Office Special Grant Process.
Speaking last week after the bid was turned down, Mrs Barnes said: “Operation Stack is acknowledged as a national problem now, and yet policing services in Kent have been put under strain to deal with it.
“Local taxpayers should not have to pick up the bill for the inability of others to solve the problem.
“I need to discuss with the Home Office, as a matter of urgency, about how we can take things forward from here to make sure that Kent Police is not left carrying the can in the future.
“It is simply not acceptable to have to routinely divert police resources to cover Stack and for those extra costs to be borne by the taxpayers in Kent.
“In fact, on my way to the office only this morning I was worried when I passed hundreds of lorries parked up on the M20, thanks to a difficulty in the tunnel and the adverse weather conditions.
“It would seem from the Home Secretary’s decision that should Operation Stack be called again the taxpayers of Kent will be unfairly expected to pay for policing it.
“This misery will continue until we get a long-term solution.”
Operation Stack in operation between junctions 11 and 12 on the M20 at Folkestone, and Kent crime commissioner Ann Barnes