Brexit lorry park work at Manston airport site stood down

Works at the Manston site stood down Photo Swift Aerial Photography

The Manston airport site has been stood down from immediate readiness as a ‘No Deal Brexit’ lorry park.

Marshals were relieved of duty as from today (May 17) and clearance is now expected to take place.

Workers were told the news on Wednesday.

In January a special development order designating the Manston airport site for use as a lorry park to cope with possible post-Brexit jams at the Port of Dover came into effect.

The order ‘augmented’ the deal to use Manston as a short-term solution for Operation Stack which 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.

The HGV trial at Manston Photo Frank Leppard

The aim was to park lorries up at the site and so reduce pressure on the M20. The government extended the deal in November 2017 to run until the end of 2019.

The new order extended the deal until December 31, 2020 with additions to allow work on the site to create a new access, add temporary hardstanding and modifications to the new entrance and create lining and signage.

Some £4.9million was earmarked to be spent on the work to increase capacity at the site to hold 6,000 – rather than the initial projection of 4,000 – lorries.

The order followed a trial run of less than 90 HGVs earlier this month from Manston to Dover as part of Kent County Council and the Department of Transport’s Brexit contingency plans.

HGV Brexit trial run Photo Kent Police RPU

The work was part of plans for Operation Brock – the updated version of lorry queuing system Operation Stack.

Operation Brock was scaled back last month with removal of the contraflow system. This followed the decision by European Union leaders to grant the UK a six-month ‘extension’ until October 31 on its departure from the EU, resulting in the standing down of no-deal operational planning by the government.

The Department for Transport said it is not pulling resources out of the no deal planning despite the halt to work and the Manston site could still be operational within hours if needed.


  1. As stated, if required it could be reinstated within hours…
    But it was wasting far too much money, having all the staff and facilities in situ, doing nothing…
    A complete waste of tax payers cash .

    • Interceptor you appear to know nothing. It’s not an airport. It’s a disused, failed airport that never managed to be profitable. Houses are happening anyway, and because of the stupidity of our MPs and the lies of RSP those houses are going to be built on farmland instead of the disused airport.

      • To be honnest im sick to death of my disabled mum not being able to get in to her own doctors because of new people coming into the area and getting apiintments before her it these damn new houses that are being built our health system can not cope with it so stop houses and have jobs thsts whst we need more.

        • The lack of medical services has nothing to do with people moving into the area (some of them could be doctors and nurses) and everything to do with recent government’s ideas about health care.
          For instance, the proposed closing of the Stroke Unit at QEQM has nothing to do with my moving to Ramsgate.

  2. Yet another failing Grayling brainwave. It works out at over £70,000 per day wasted and the Tories have NOTHING to show for all the money failing Grayling has wasted. Unbelievable like his boss he is still in a job.

  3. Why don’t they open it up for truck parking now! You get off a ferry at night out of driving time because you can’t park in Calais for fear of immigrants getting in your truck all the truck parks are full and all the lay-bys have been shut.

  4. What a joke Manston will bring in much needed employment to thanet houses won’t Manston was on the upward motion in freight and klm service started to climb then it was shut so no it wasn’t a failed airport mupper just back handers working .

  5. What a joke Manston will bring in much needed employment to thanet houses won’t Manston was on the upward motion in freight and klm service started to climb then it was shut so no it wasn’t a failed airport mupper just back handers working .

    • Manston was not on the “upward motion”. It was failing, as it continuously had all its working life. At the end, it was losing £10,000 A day, and the KLM flights were, on average, more than half empty.
      A reopened airport would bring noise and environmental damage to Thanet, not jobs.

    • And if Brexit had happened, and 100,000 lorries were gridlocked on the M2, what then would you have said?
      “Why didn’t they do something”, perhaps?

  6. The airport is an important part of the Souths incrastucture and should be kept as such. There are 800,000 unbuilt houses to be built before this goes.

    • The airport, demonstrably, is of no consequence to the economy of the UK in general, or the SE in particular.
      Since it closed 5 years ago, the economy has staggered on much as before.

  7. 8000 homes 32000 people including children 16000 cars. I know what I prefer, give me an aeroplane anytime. Just imagine þhe chaos at rush hour times

    • For gods sake how many more times do people have to be told before they get it. It’s not airport or houses. Houses are coming anyway. So it’s airport and houses, with houses being built on green fields, or houses only, using waste brownfield site that has never ever made a profit as a commercial airport. Please don’t demonstrate your ignorance by perpetuating this airport vs houses myth.

      • Lets hope no one needs an doctors appointment and gets told oh sorry no appointment available or you need an ambulance and it takes 8 hours to get to you and you die before it gets to yah because it has to deal with new drunken people to the area lets hope you dont need an hospital bed and you cant get one because a person from out of thanet has moved here and got the bed before you.

        • Yes I have moved here from out of Thanet. So did you or your ancestors at some stage. And people moving here include doctors, nurses, teachers. Maybe they’ll look at your comments and decide that they’d rather treat/teach someone else.

        • What a disgusting attitude! It’s a long time since I’ve seen such vile comments. Whether or not you get a hospital bed depends on clinical need, not where people come from.
          What a sad, bitter person you must be.

  8. More tax payers money for these greedy people who want to turn Thanet into a massive housing estate! Let’s destroy everything so us humans can each have a house. Why not kill nature so we can have more humans! Don’t worry the way we are all carrying on the world will end for us all soon then nature might have a chance again ????????????

    • How are “these greedy people”?
      They happen to have a resource that’s in demand. It’s entirely laudable, from the point of view of capitalist ethos, that people should maximize profit.
      Nor is it “these greedy people” who are imposing the number of houses on us – that is down to the government.

  9. Andrew is right, it is the government imposing the local quota of new housing. I too will gain if there is no airport, because if there is, its noise and pollution will be unavoidable for the residents of Ramsgate, where I live.

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