‘Gree­nies and grum­blers’ are block­ing road plans, says MP

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Lorry Park - By Sam Len­non

“Gree­nies and grum­blers” are stalling vi­tal road im­prove­ments needed in prepa­ra­tion for Brexit.

That’s the mes­sage from Dover and Deal MP Char­lie El­ph­icke in the week af­ter Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May signed Ar­ti­cle 50 to start the process of Bri­tain leav­ing the EU.

Mr El­ph­icke in par­tic­u­lar com­plained of ob­sta­cles against the planned M20 lorry park.

He said: “The M20 lorry park, which we need to pre­vent the en­tire road sys­tem break­ing down, in the event of port prob­lems, is un­der threat.

“Vested in­ter­ests – gree­nies and grum­blers who don’t care what’s best for Dover and Deal, are seek­ing to stop it.”

The scheme is for Stan­ford in Shep­way and fol­lows re­peated grid­lock in the sum­mer of 2015 from a com­bi­na­tion of French work­ers’ strikes and mi­grant dis­rup­tion.

Op­er­a­tion Stack has reg­u­larly had to be used over the years, turn­ing the mo­tor­way into a lorry park be­cause of bad weather and strikes on the Con­ti­nent.

The plans for Stan­ford has led to a mass protest move­ment, lead­ing to the set­ting up of a ju­di­cial re­view due in Lon­don for June 27 and 28.

The £250 mil­lion lorry park is planned off junc­tion 11, the turnoff for Hythe, and would be twice the size of Dis­ney­land in Cal­i­for­nia.

The main pro­test­ers against it are lo­cal peo­ple in the pres­sure group SOS (Smarter Op­tions than Stan­ford) Kent, led by Stan­ford Par­ish Coun­cil.

Mr El­ph­icke also com­plains that the Lower Thames Cross­ing link­ing Kent and Es­sex is en­ter­ing its third decade of plan­ning.

He added that the du­alling ofthe A2, axed by Tony Blair’s Labour govern­ment, must go back on the ta­ble.

Mr El­ph­icke added: “Europe is only part of the prob­lem. In many ways our Com­puter images of the pro­pos­als for how the pro­posed M20 lorry park could look af­ter de­signs were drawn up by High­ways Eng­land great­est prob­lems are that we cre­ate grid­lock at Dover means grid­lock for for our­selves. the UK econ­omy too.

“It takes years to build even the sim“Key roads need to be up­graded plest road be­cause there are so many right now.” vested in­ter­ests seek­ing to stop any SOS Kent press of­fi­cer Sharon Hay­work be­ing done. Ask any driver and les said: “The third Thames cross­ing they’ll tell your our roads are sim­ply will send traf­fic down the M2 com­not up to the job.” pletely by­pass­ing the pro­posed M20

Mr El­ph­icke said that he was lorry park. there­fore not sur­prised that Michel “How will an Op­er­a­tion Stack Barnier, Europe’s chief Brexit ne­gotire­lief lorry park solve a prob­lem, ator, claims there would be queues on which is yet to raise its head? I feel the roads to Dover and Deal if there Mr El­ph­icke is be­ing alarmist. Af­ter was no deal. all, the sky didn’t fall in af­ter Brexit,”

He said: “The sim­ple truth is that SOS Kent ar­gues that the lorry park, for 3,600 ve­hi­cles, would de­stroy 250 acres of prime farm­land from Stan­ford to Sellindge.

They also ar­gue that ad­di­tional fenc­ing has been put up on Calais to stop mi­grant break­throughs and Euro­tun­nel and the Port of Dover have pro­vided hun­dreds more lorry spa­ces and in­creased cross Chan­nel ca­pac­ity.

They also fear this could be the thin end of the wedge for sim­i­lar de­vel­op­ments.

The group also ar­gues that Op­er­a­tion Stack has not been be­ing needed since sum­mer 2015 yet, the lorry park is be­ing pushed ahead re­gard­less, with­out a full En­vi­ron­men­tal Im­pact As­sess­ment.

‘The sim­ple truth is that grid­lock at Dover means grid­lock for the UK econ­omy too.’

What do you think? Write to Ken­tish Ex­press, 34-36 North Street, Ash­ford, TN24 8JR or email ken­tish­ex­press@ thek­m­group.co.uk

Pic­ture: Gary Browne FM3611985

Op­er­a­tion Stack on the M20 ap­proach­ing Junc­tion 9 for Ash­ford

Dover Western Docks and Cruise Ter­mi­nal is vi­tal to the UK econ­omy

Pic­ture: Chris Davey FM4171192

Fields near Stand­ford that could be­come the Op­er­a­tion Stack lorry park

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