Over recent decades, the number of lorries crossing the English Channel has increased seven fold. Nearly 90% of all UK roll-on, roll-off international freight goes through the Strait of Dover and that puts 11,000 lorries per day on Kent’s roads1. There are projections that by 2025 the number of these lorries could double.
Usually the road network copes well. But unexpected events cause problems, as there is little slack in the system.
Extra parking has recently been provided at the Port of Dover and Eurotunnel, but we expect that severe weather, security threats or industrial action will still mean that queues of lorries have to be held on the M20 using a procedure known as Operation Stack. This happened on 32 days in 2015.
Operation Stack can cause significant problems as it shuts the M20. Kent residents struggle to get to work or school, to medical appointments or to carry out everyday tasks. People from further afield get held up or delayed and businesses are affected.
This consultation is about plans to alleviate the problems caused by Operation Stack by designing and building a dedicated lorry holding area at Stanford, near Folkestone. In almost all cases, this will keep Kent residents moving and get rid of traffic congestion caused by cross-Channel disruption. Businesses keep investing in the area and jobs can be created, leading to greater prosperity both in Kent and internationally. (more…)