Kent

Chancellor tackles Operation Stack disruption with £250m

Operation Stack Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Stack was used for 32 days this summer

Money has been allocated in the chancellor's Spending Review to deal with disruption caused in Kent by Operation Stack.

George Osborne said the move followed talks with Kent MPs and the £250m would relieve pressure on the county's roads.

Government papers said the funds would pay for a new lorry park and there would be consultation on a preferred site at Stanford or alternative sites.

Stack is where lorries park on the M20 during cross-Channel disruption.

It causes congestion across the Kent road network and was used 32 times this summer, following strikes by French ferry workers, migrant activity and disruption to cross-Channel rail operations.

After the announcement, Damian Collins, Folkestone and Hythe MP tweeted: "It's great news. Myself @Helen_Whately @CharlieElphicke & others made a strong case. Delighted Chancellor listened."

Kent County Council leader Paul Carter said 90% of HGV traffic from continental Europe came through Kent and when the county ground to a halt with Stack, it also dragged down the national economy.

He said: "Operation Stack is a national issue and we very much welcome the government's recognition of this."

Shepway council leader David Monk also welcomed the funding and said it would help bring an end to the misery caused to local residents and businesses.

'Revolting lay-bys'

Thanet North MP Roger Gale said the lorry park would help hauliers and take the strain when Stack was implemented.

He said: "Hopefully, we will now be able to move forward to properly regulate our lay-bys and our verges so we don't have lorry drivers using the highways and byways as lavatories.

"Some of the lay-bys in east Kent are absolutely revolting. Now we've got the opportunity to provide a proper facility, there can be no excuse for that kind of behaviour."

Steve Gooding, director of motoring at the RAC Foundation, said the announcement came after "decades of dithering".

He welcomed the move and said HGVs should be parked in permanent sites and not on motorways during cross-Channel disruption.

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