Local MP presses for more lorry parks for Kent.

According to Hansard, local MP Mrs Helen Whately has been pressing in parliament for more lorry parks for Kent and the following extract appears in Hansard, which is the official report of the proceedings in the House of Commons. 

Helen Whately Conservative, Faversham and Mid Kent

I congratulate my hon. Friend and constituency neighbour on securing this debate and on making the case so strongly that the problem of lorry parking needs urgently to be addressed, across the country but especially in our area of Kent, for the sake of residents and lorry drivers. We must ensure that the parking of lorries in the right place is effectively enforced, and that has to go hand in hand with ensuring that there are places for lorries to park, such as the Operation Stack lorry park and further lorry parks on the route, which he mentioned.

Although overnight lorry parking is already an issue in many parts of the county including the layby on the A20 at Hothfield and around Canterbury it is likely to become much worse after Brexit in March 2019 if there is no agreement on Customs arrangements. The proposed £250 million lorry park at Stanford between Ashford and Folkestone will only cater for one quarter of the daily traffic so more may be needed. A White Paper published last week indicates that the Government will requisition land away from Dover to park lorries.

At last week’s Conservative Party Conference in Manchester the Port of Dover took advertising space to predict serious traffic jams in Kent and a permanent Operation Stack on the M20 if there is no Customs Union. According to media reports it currently takes 2 minutes to process each of the 10,000 lorries a day going through Dover. If this time is increased to 4 minutes to allow for Customs then there will shortly be a 17 mile traffic queue on the M20. Similar queues will be on the French side of the English Channel.  Most Customs transfers take more than 4 minutes so the possibilities of major traffic jams on both sides of the Channel seem likely with a major impact on Hollingbourne at Junction 8 of the M20.

Without a Customs Union taxes on imports will have to be charged which may increase prices. According to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) website cars will attract a 10% tariff while everyday items such as tomato ketchup will increase in price by 10.4%.

Any delays at Dover and the Channel Tunnel after Brexit will make French day trips from Kent difficult. The EHIC card may no longer be valid after Brexit so medical and other insurance may be necessary and some sort of visa may also be required.

Other local issues are the number of foreign staff in the NHS with the Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust who have recruited 9.7% of their medical and nursing staff from the EU according to an FOI request earlier this year.

Mrs Whately, the Member for Faversham and Mid Kent, has also been pressing for trade opportunities for local firms as follows:-

Photo of Helen WhatelyHelen Whately Conservative, Faversham and Mid Kent

Could my right hon. Friend advise what steps the Government are taking to ensure that when we leave the EU, businesses do not face a cliff edge for trade with countries that are beyond the EU but covered by trade agreements that the EU has?

Local KCC Councillor Shellina Prendergast is expecting a statement from Kent County Council on 19th October regarding their policy on dealing with lorry traffic after Brexit with Customs Union.

Pictured below are some of the lorries on the M20 at Hollingbourne during an Operation Stack in 2015.

Operation Stack at Hollingbourne in June 2015.