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’You can’t park there’

PUBLISHED: 15:46 19 March 2008 | UPDATED: 09:35 23 August 2010

PLANS for a £40million lorry park to end the misery of Operation Stack have been slammed as a destructive, short-term solution . Instead, the Campaign to Protect Rural England is urging French and British governments to tackle the relentless growth in r

PLANS for a £40million lorry park to end the misery of Operation Stack have been slammed as a "destructive, short-term solution".

Instead, the Campaign to Protect Rural England is urging French and British governments to tackle the relentless growth in road freight.

Kent County Council has identified a potential site for the park and will hold a six-week consultation before putting forward a planning application for land near Ashford.

But Kent CPRE director Dr Hilary Newport said: "We know Operation Stack has been a nightmare for Kent for far too long and we wholly agree with the county council that a solution must be found.

"But a greenfield lorry park will not address the fundamental causes of Stack. We must not destroy yet more of our green space in a doomed attempt to solve Kent's congestion problems.

"If road-based freight traffic through Dover is allowed to keep increasing at 10 per cent per year, the biggest lorry park in the world wouldn't prevent our county being threatened with gridlock.

"Only by reducing the volume of freight coming in to this country, as well as moving more of it by rail and sea, can we hope to make a real difference."

CPRE Kent advocates the installation of a moveable barrier system, both for phases one and two of Operation Stack in the short and medium term, while policy is addressed.

The blistering attack came after days of Stack misery due to industrial action by Seafrance staff in France.

KCC's plans are for a 70-acre site adjacent to the M20 at Aldington, near Ashford. It would hold up to 3,000 lorries when stretches of the motorway network are forced to shut because of Operation Stack.

Dr Newport added: "A lot of the freight thundering through Kent is on its way to places that could be reached by ship. With the right financial incentives, rail could take a far larger share than it currently does.

"By becoming more and more addicted to goods shipped in on lorries from abroad, we're making Kent into little more than a corridor for HGVs."

KCC said the proposed site would incorporate a permanent lorry park for about 500 HGVs that would be open all year round. Council leader Paul Carter is optimistic the plan will get widespread support and hopes a lengthy public inquiry will not be needed.

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