MPs say ‘rushed’ lorry park needs more thought
The case for a huge lorry park to deal with Operation Stack has not been proved, say MPs who have examined the plans.
A report published yesterday (Wednesday) by the Transport Select Committee said while the government was right to seek a solution to the disruption caused by Operation Stack, the decision to build a lorry park was rushed and “left behind some of the usual best practice when spending such large sums of money.”
The plans were in response to widespread disruption caused by Operation Stack last summer.
The Chancellor announced that £250million would be allocated for a permanent lorry park near junction 11 of the M20, capable of holding around 4000 HGVs, on a site the same size as Disneyland.
The cross-party group said that given the scale of the scheme, it required full and careful evaluation of the plan and alternatives.
Their report told the govern- ment to demonstrate the necessity for the lorry park, including:
Whether alternatives to the lorry park represented better value for money;
Whether the lorry park was “a proportionate and appropriate solution to the scale and frequency of disruption associated with Operation Stack”;
What environmental and social costs the scheme would impose on the local area;
The value of any benefits the park would bring locally and to the UK economy;
The long-term costs of operating, maintaining, renewing and, eventually, decommissioning the lorry park.
Louise Ellman MP, chairman of the committee said: “We are not saying the government should not press ahead with its proposal, only that it has more work to do to persuade us of the business case for this investment.
“The disruption caused by Operation Stack affects many people in Kent but this is not just a local issue.
“The government has settled on a lorry park as the best solution but what they are proposing is on a vast scale and could cost up to quarter of a billion pounds.”
She added: “Ministers need to do more in order to justify this spending and it should do more to demonstrate why a lorry park roughly the size of Disneyland in California is better than the alternatives we heard about during our inquiry.”
Operation Stack between Junction 9 and 10 of the M20 - MPs say the case for a lorry park is not proved