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Stack’ parking plans get moving

PUBLISHED: 16:54 26 March 2008 | UPDATED: 09:36 23 August 2010

TRANSPORT experts are supporting plans for a £40 million lorry park scheme to end the costly Operation Stack. Kent County Council announced the plan last week after days of misery for Kent commuters due to industrial action by Seafrance staff in France.

TRANSPORT experts are supporting plans for a £40 million lorry park scheme to end the costly Operation Stack.

Kent County Council announced the plan last week after days of misery for Kent commuters due to industrial action by Seafrance staff in France.

Consultant MDS Transmodal says a business development model should be drawn up to make the parks affordable by pooling resources from both the public and private sectors.

The council proposes a lorry park with capacity for up to 3,000 lorries at its preferred location beside the M20 at Aldington, near Ashford. It would take lorries off the M20 when Kent Police invoke Operation Stack because of disruption to cross-Channel services and would also be a permanent overnight stop.

MDS is predicting freight traffic in Kent will double from 3.5 million truck movements in 2005 to 7.1 million truck movements in 2030, in its Channel State of Freight report published this week.

The report says: "We believe lorry parking facilities should be multi-purpose, providing not just secure overnight parking but also be available in the event of the implementation of Operation Stack and to act as a buffer zone for cross-Channel traffic."

Experts also looked at the possibility of switching freight to rail but considered the rail network capacity would not meet demand due to lack of investment and the government's 'passenger first' focus.

In France, the Port of Calais, Eurotunnel and private companies are already developing new facilities to cope with the 1,000 extra spaces likely to be required around Calais.

The Kent Lorry Parking Study which KCC carried out in 2005 forecast that about 970 spaces would be needed in Kent by next year and that this would rise to 1,300 spaces in 2024.

Keith Ferrin, KCC cabinet member for highways, speaking at the report launch said KCC was going to unveil proposals for two more lorry parks, one on the A2-M2 corridor to be announced shortly and one on the M25 corridor.

He said: "Lorry parks are important for the future as they will help take some of the very heavy freight traffic volumes on our motorways and county roads network. We have given a firm lead by announcing the first of these."

"The work carried out by MDS Transmodal for the Channel Corridor Partnership is a valuable resource. KCC will now pick up this work and take it on. We are holding the Kent Freight Forum at the end of April and will be looking to prepare a Kent Freight Strategy."

michael.adkins@archant.co.uk

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