Plans for a lorry park to counter chaos caused by Operation Stack on the M20 have been cancelled, as Highways England reveals steel barriers could be used to stack lorries in the middle of the motorway.
The proposed lorry park in Stanford, Kent with capacity for 3,600 vehicles had been approved by the government in July last year as a permanent alternative to Operation Stack, the emergency system used to queue lorries on the motorway when there is disruption to channel crossings.
But transport secretary Chris Grayling confirmed yesterday (15 November) the plans have been cancelled. A judicial review hearing had been due next month concerning environmental impacts of the lorry park but the government has said it is no longer defending the review.
“My department and Highways England have, since being judicially reviewed, tried to find a solution so that the lorry park could be delivered as quickly as possible to mitigate the impacts of Operation Stack, whilst also meeting our environmental obligations. However, it has not proven possible to do so,” said Grayling.
Balfour Beatty had won a £130M contract to work on proposals and build the park.
A fresh lorry park proposal, including a full environmental assessment and reassessment of scope and location, is being developed by Highways England and will be consulted on early next year.
Meanwhile interim solutions such as holding lorries in the middle of the motorway rather than on the coast-bound lanes are being considered. Steel barriers and moveable barriers are being mooted as delivery options, which will be in place by March 2019.
Highways England project director John Kerner said: “Improvements at the port, and changes we have made to traffic management on the A20 near Dover, have delivered real improvements and have also helped prevent Operation Stack from being implemented. Along with our partners we are better prepared than ever, but a better plan for dealing with more widespread disruption is still needed.”