Transport minister Lord Ahmad has announced that a potential short-term solution to serious congestion issues in Kent will now be employed to address disruption being caused through the widening scope of Operation Stack in recent weeks.
The owners of Manston Airfield in east Kent have come to an agreement with Kent County Council, Highways England and the Department for Transport for the use of the facility as an alternative parking area for freight traffic affected by the ongoing unrest at Calais.
Businesses and travellers across the region have been badly affected by significant delays in journeys through the rollout of Operation Stack in recent weeks, as stretches of the M20 have become little more than temporary parking lots for vehicles waiting to use cross-Channel services.
"Working together we have found a viable short-term solution to the disruption residents and industry in the M20 corridor from Dover to Maidstone have been experiencing in recent weeks as a result of Operation Stack," Lord Ahmad stated.
"By using Manston Airfield we have secured an interim solution while we work to find a longer term resolution, which meets the needs of the whole of Kent and of course the interests of British industry."
In addition, freight operators transporting a range of specific goods are also to be given priority processing for cross-Channel services, ensuring these vehicles can be removed from those clogging up important transport links across the region.
Goods included in this swifter embarkation process will include:
- livestock and live loads
- perishable fresh market produce
- freight cargo for critical care – emergency medicines, equipment, etc
- items for critical humanitarian need
- hazardous goods – explosives, corrosives, flammables, etc
Individuals and businesses making travel plans in Kent and the south-east of England remain advised of potential delays to journeys in the area, but it is hoped these latest measures will provide some much-needed respite in the coming days and weeks.
Posted on 5th August 2015
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