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 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.
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.