Faversham and Mid Kent MP has written to Highways England suggesting that a network of privately operated lorry parks be built across the County so that lorries are not parked up overnight alongside roads. This follows a number of letters from her constituents who have expressed a preference for a network of smaller, commercially operated lorry parks over one large lorry park.
The matter of lorry parking may become worse after Brexit because of delays at Dover and Eurotunnel because of the end of the Customs Union. Mrs Whately at the time of the 2016 Referendum campaigned and voted against Brexit.
Plans are already in hand to turn the M20 from Junction 8 in Hollingbourne to Junction 9 in Ashford into a 13 mile long lorry park for thousands of lorries for a period of at least five years while more permanent arrangements are made for traffic control. The London bound carriageway is to be dualled with a 50mph limit. There are proposals to build a giant lorry park at Sandway near Lenham with a new access road from the M20. There is no information about how vehicles will be called forward to move to Dover and Eurotunnel for passage or if vehicles from the Dover and Ashford areas will first have to travel to Hollingbourne or one of the yet to be built lorry parks in order to join the queue.
Changes in the VAT payment procedures on EU imports after Brexit plus WTO tariffs and the traffic problems on the M20 may slow trade over a period of time. At the moment an average of 10,000+ lorries plus 6.000+ cars and coaches cross the Channel via Dover with many more via Eurotunnel. Post Brexit the Customs processing time is expected to increase from 2 minutes per lorry to 20 minutes according to the Port of Dover. This is expected to cause major traffic problems.
The text of Mrs Whately’s letter to Highways England following a number of responses from her constituents appears below.
During Operation Stack in 2015 when the M20 was used for parking lorries for over 30 days roads and communities around the M20 were also affected including Eyhorne Street in June 2015 (pictured below). Mrs Whately can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org
Hollingbourne residents in the houses in the above picture and many others received compensation under the terms of the Land Compensation Act 1973 for the loss in the value of their homes caused by the construction of the HS1 and the extension of the M20 from Junction 8 towards Ashford. This was because the railway and the motorway were deemed to be “public works”. The arrangements for handling the traffic problems caused by Brexit including the proposed lorry parks and a rail customs facility at Dollands Moor near Ashford should theoretically also be public works and therefore trigger compensation under the Act. It is not clear though that the compensation will be payable if the facilities are built and operated by commercial interests.