Act quickly to avoid Brexit chaos

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Operation Stack - By Paul Fran­cis

County trans­port chiefs have warned the govern­ment it must act quickly to find an al­ter­na­tive to Op­er­a­tion Stack or risk de­lays and dis­rup­tion when Brexit takes ef­fect next year.

In an un­com­pro­mis­ing mes­sage, Kent County Coun­cil says an al­ter­na­tive so­lu­tion to Op­er­a­tion Stack is “des­per­ately needed” as the M20 must “re­main open to lo­cal res­i­dents and busi­nesses at all times”.

The warn­ing comes in KCC’s of­fi­cial re­sponse to a govern­ment con­sul­ta­tion on its plans for the coun­try’s road net­work, called Shap­ing the Fu­ture of Eng­land’s Strate­gic Roads.

The coun­cil takes the op­por­tu­nity to high­light the con­se­quences of fail­ing to have any plans to mit­i­gate de­lays and con­ges­tion when the UK leaves the EU next year, say­ing: “Kent’s lo­cal road net­work must not take the bur­den of de­lays in crossChan­nel freight traf­fic.

“It is for this rea­son that KCC is very dis­ap­pointed the govern­ment is no longer con­struct­ing a per­ma­nent lorry hold­ing area at Stan­ford West.

“While it is ap­pre­ci­ated that work will con­tinue on new pro­pos­als for ac­com­mo­dat­ing freight in the event of cross-Chan­nel de­lays, a plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tion will not be con­sid­ered un­til 2019.”

The re­sponse adds: “While this would be of se­ri­ous con­cern in its own right, the tim­ing of this process as it is so close to Brexit makes the de­lays in iden­ti­fy­ing a so­lu­tion all the more alarm­ing.”

KCC cites ris­ing con­cerns about the like­li­hood of more and more fre­quent de­lays in cross-Chan­nel traf­fic and freight move­ments post-Brexit” and the “ur­gent need” for the govern­ment to move for­ward with an al­ter­na­tive to Op­er­a­tion Stack.

The re­port also warns that Kent’s po­si­tion as the gate­way to Eu­rope means that “Brexit will re­quire in­fra­struc­ture in­vest­ment to main­tain freight flu­id­ity”.

The govern­ment an­nounced last year that it was aban­don­ing its plans for a huge lorry park off the M20 at Stan­ford near Folke­stone, just weeks ahead of a Ju­di­cial Re­view of the govern­ment’s scheme.

What do you think? Write to Ken­tish Ex­press, Unit 4, Park Mall shop­ping cen­tre, Ash­ford TN24 8RY or email ken­tish­ex­press@thek­m­group.co.uk

An al­ter­na­tive to Op­er­a­tion Stack must be found af­ter Brexit, say county chiefs

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