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Expert Lawyers Say Plans For New Operation Stack Lorry Park Are Long Overdue

But Plans Deemed “Hastily” By The Transport Select Committee For Kent M20


Lawyers at national law firm Irwin Mitchell say new long-term plans for Operation Stack to ease distribution caused by cross-Channel services are long overdue despite The Transport Select Committee deeming that the 4,000 space park in Kent was taken “hastily” by the government. 


The recommended plans to keep Kent moving come after part of the M20 last year was used 32 times for queuing lorries – the process known as Operation Stack.


The two £250m proposed sites for the lorry park being considered is the “same size as Disneyland in California.”


The Department for Transport (DfT) said the preferred location for a "permanent solution" would be chosen soon.


The Transport Select Committee said in its report that the government "has not demonstrated clearly enough what options have been evaluated".


Their report listed possible alternatives to the park including upgrading the M20 and/or the A2/M2, increasing the capacity of cross-Channel services, or building a network of smaller lorry parks.


Kent County Council told the Committee that disruption caused by Operation Stack cost the local economy £1.5m per day.


Introduced in 1988, Operation Stack is a stretch of the M20 in southeast Kent used to park freight bound for the Channel Tunnel or the Port of Dover – typically lasting for five or six days.


It is implemented when a cross-Channel service is severely disrupted by bad weather, fire, operational problems, industrial protests or migrant action at Calais.


Carl Dyer, national head of planning at Irwin Mitchell, said:


Expert Opinion
“The Operation Stack exercise has been running as a “temporary” measure for 19 years’ since 1988, and used 32 times last year alone, so plainly a long term solution is needed.

“Bad weather, operational issues and accidents, industrial action or immigration issues are things which are not going to cease any time soon, so a permanent solution is needed.

“I suspect the people of Kent, the hauliers, and all those who import and export goods through Kent, would prefer to have something delivered quickly, rather than the Select Committee debating alternatives for years to come.”

Carl Dyer, Partner

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