Yesterday the Government abandoned plans to build a £250 million lorry park on the M20 at Stanford between Ashford and Dover to store up to 3600 lorries in the event to reactivate Operation Stack on the M20 because of traffic problems in Dover and Calais. In 2015 this happened on 32 days and the M20 was closed at Junction 8 in Hollingbourne to all but lorry traffic and this caused traffic chaos in Hollingbourne and elsewhere in Kent.
It is understood that the plans were abandoned because of a legal challenge and the fact that the Department of Transport had failed to undertake an environmental impact assessment.
Yesterday Ms Yvette Cooper, Chair of a Home Affairs Select Committee, predicted “Operation Stack on steroids” after Brexit in March 2019 when Customs controls are introduced at Dover because of the time taken to process vehicles through Customs. It has been estimated that it will take 20 minutes per vehicle instead of 2 minutes at present.
It was envisaged that the new lorry park would be available to store some of the vehicles awaiting processing through Dover. The Customs delay problem will also affect Northern France.
Pictured below are some of the lorries parked on the M20 near Hollingbourne in 2015 during Operation Stack.