Deal to use Manston airport site as lorry park for Operation Stack extended

Manston airport site

A Government arrangement to use the former Manston airport site as an emergency lorry park for Operation Stack will be extended.

Aa announcement today (November 15) from the Department for Transport said the site will “continue to be used during severe cross-Channel disruption, helping to further reduce the impact on Kent.”

It comes as plans for a lorry park at Stanford West, near Ashford, have been ditched.

The announcement states: “Highways England will now develop new plans for a permanent solution, including a lorry park, to cope with disruption on Kent roads caused by cross-channel disruption as well as providing daily parking for lorries.

“A consultation is set to take place next year, ahead of a planning application in 2019.”

The deal

The deal to use Manston as a short-term solution was first struck with site owners Stone Hill Park in August 2015 following a Summer of disruption due to French strikes and growing migrant camps in Calais, with many attempts to illegally enter the UK through Dover and the Channel Tunnel.

The aim was to park lorries up at the site and so reduce pressure on the M20.

The Department for Transport paid the Manston site owners £3.5million to prepare and maintain it in the event it would be needed. The site has not yet been used for Operation Stack.

Work to prepare the site included fitting floodlights and painting lines for parking HGVs up as well as adding toilets and shower blocks.

The contract was due to finish at the end of this year.

‘Due course’

A spokesman for the Department for Transport said more details of the contract would be released in “due course.” A spokesman for SHP said there was no comment on the extended deal, but added: “The extension doesn’t impact on SHP plans for site.”

When Manston airfield is in use during Operation Stack, the routes for freight will be:

  • Dover-bound freight coming from the West will use the M20 to junction 7, Maidstone, where it will be diverted via the A249, M2, and A299 to Manston.
  • Dover-bound freight coming from the North (Dartford Crossing) will use the A2, M2 and A299 to Manston.
  • From Manston, freight will use the A256 and A2 to Dover.
  • Channel Tunnel-bound freight will stay on the M20.
    The routes for tourists will be:
  • Dover-bound tourist traffic will be encouraged to use the A2, M2 and A2.
  • If already on the M20 Dover-bound tourist traffic will be diverted off at junction 7, Maidstone, and via the A249, M2, and A2 to Dover.
  • Channel Tunnel-bound tourist traffic will use the M20 and A20 followiing the hollow circle diversion symbol.

The routes will be clearly signed and at various junctions along the M20, M2, and onward to Manston there will be either a Highways England, a Kent County Council Highways, or Kent Police patrol.

Vehicle recovery resources will be at strategic pinch points to keep the route moving in the event of a breakdown and will work under the supervision of traffic officers.


  1. It’s great news for the owners of the site. They be able to claim another hefty chunk of taxpayers’ money whilst the site remains derelict, and may even be able to claim compensation if the deal impacts on their development plans. Meanwhile RSP still don’t seem to have two brass farthings to rub together.

    • Sadly, you’re another one who hasn’t watched the videos or read RSP’s documents. They will have access to around £300 Million and all will be revealed in their Funding Statement as soon as the DCO is submitted, hopefully before the end of this year.

  2. So the Tory plan is to build houses that lorry drivers can stayin while they can park their lorries in the gardens! Then the cargo planes can swop to take good out of the parked lorries. Daft perhaps but hasn’t the saga of manston has been a jokee

  3. RSP keep banging on about this mythical £300 million. But why wait until the end of the year to tell everyone where it’s coming from? What possible harm could it do to reveal the source of their funding now? The amusing thing about the funding is the way people who want the airport to reopen are so confident that it exists. Yet when you question them none of them have the slightest clue about the actual source of the funds. It’s like a collective blindness. After all their bluster about facts and doing your research they don’t have a shred of evidence that the funds exist. They believe it because they want to believe it.

    • Of course the Supporters want to believe in the viability of the Airport being reinstated…
      The Fiscal Statement has to be included in the submission to the Planning Inspectorate …
      That should be evidence enough for all… If the Secretary of State is not convinced of the Financial Arrangements, He has the power to refuse the Application…
      Would RiverOak risk putting the whole DCO in jeopardy?
      I would doubt that, Hence I believe they have the necessary funding in place .

  4. As I thought. You have no evidence whatsoever that this funding exists. You believe it because you want to believe it. Weren’t RSP supposed to be submitting the DCO application in November? The clock is ticking towards yet another missed deadline..

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