Kent County Council is yet to receive a formal response from the Government to the request from Hollingbourne Parish Council for an assurance that Operation Stack will not become a regular event after Brexit when the Government are committed to having no Customs Union. The matter was first raised in July with local KCC Councillor Mrs Shellina Prendergast who arranged for a formal question on the matter to be put to KCC Cabinet Member for Transport, Mr Matthew Balfour at the KCC Meeting in County Hall on 19th October. He promised to write to Mr Christopher Grayling, Secretary of State for Transport to ask for assurance that the movement of freight through Dover and the Channel Tunnel would be “fluid” after March 2019 with no delays causing Operation Stack on a regular basis. No assurance has been received and there is concern that there could be traffic problems around Junction 8 of the M20 in Hollingbourne especially as Maidstone Borough Council appear to be supporting development in the area including a distribution centre at Woodcut Farm and thousands of new houses to the east of Maidstone.
The traffic problem on the M20 has been well publicised for several months in the national media and the Port of Dover has published a You Tube video which explains that it takes 2 minutes to current process one of the 10 million plus trucks that cross the Channel each year because of their use of the EU Transit Customs system. Without this system it will take an estimate of 20 minutes per vehicle and it is calculated that a 2 minute delay will produce a 17 mile tailback within 4 hours. Hence Hollingbourne could be affected very quickly. Please see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9p2NZwOpJA
More information about the Transit Convention is at https://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/business/customs-procedures/what-is-customs-transit/common-union-transit_en
Earlier this month the Government cancelled plans to build a £250 million lorry park at Stanford on the M20 which could hold up to 3600 trucks awaiting transit at Dover and the Channel Tunnel. It is understood that there could be similar problems in France for freight vehicles if the present level of trade continues.
If and when more information is available then it will be published on this website.
Pictured below is some of the traffic tailing back around half a mile from the Great Danes roundabout on the A20 close to the Junction 8 of the M20 in 2015 during the when Operation Stack was a major problem.