Lack of food provision and toilet facilities at Manston lorry park says stranded HGV driver

Iulian Toroaba is at the Manston lorry park site

A Romanian lorry driver stuck at the Manston airfield site says there are not enough toilets and a lack of proper food and drink.

EU Freight destined for Dover Port and Eurotunnel Terminals is still being held in queues and being directed to Manston airfield after the border with France was shut to UK travellers and accompanied freight going into the country on Sunday night. Travel from France to Britain is still open.

Photo Frank Leppard

The closure is in place due to fears over the new variant of coronavirus spreading in the south east, according to the French government.

Talks are taking place to find a solution which may include mass testing of all freight drivers with rapid turnaround lateral flow tests being with the help of the military.

Almost 900 vehicles were moved to the airfield during the night, There are reported to be 1,500 HGVs on the M20 and Manston airfield combined, far more than the 170 that Prime Minister Boris Johnson initially said were queued. Trucks remaining on the M20 are being moved to Manston today, says the Department for Transport.

Iulian Toroaba has been stuck in the backlog since Sunday and says facilities at Manston are lacking despite Department for Transport assurances that the site would have hot and cold water, toilet and hand cleaning facilities.

Iulian said: “We have 2 bottles of water. We haven’t received any food . No toilets. Regarding our physiological needs, we are using the fields or the lorry’s wheels.”

A source said that although police are doing a ‘fantastic job’ it appeared to be “the blind leading the blind” inside the lorry park. They said there had also been issues with lorries entering the village due to being given the wrong postcode.

The company that has the contract to manage ‘EU exit’ parking at Manston does not officially start work until January 1, they added.

Iulian is hoping talks today (December 22) will find a resolution so HGVs can start making their journey across the Channel.

He said he is desperate to get home for Christmas, adding: “I have a family in Romania and a small child waiting for me at home.”

Friend Svetlana Raisa, who lives in Ramsgate, said she was concerned at the lack of welfare for drivers. She added: “We are trying to get hold of a pass from the Romanian Embassy for volunteers to go in and help with food and water.”

Photo Frank Leppard

It is understood a food wagon is on site (pictured). Work to prepare the site has been taking place throughout the year and there are portable toilets and shower facilities as well as a shuttle to the main terminal.

A Department for Transport spokesperson said there are 77 toilets on the site and a number of food vans on the way to the airfield now (3.48pm).

A number of locals have also offered t take food and drink to the site.


These include the Dalby Cafe in Cliftonville and Ramsgate Football Club.

However, Thanet council says donations are not needed, as the Department for Transport would ensure provisions.

A special development order allows use of the Manston site as part of the Kent-wide Operation Fennel to hold up to 4,000 HGVs to help cope with any post EU exit jams at the Port of Dover.

The deal with the Department of Transport for the site to continue to be designated as a ‘EU exit’ lorry park has been extended until the end of June 2021.

Photo @Louismcl01

It is expected that full custom controls will be in effect by July, negating the need for further use of the site.

But that is of no help to those that are stuck there again tonight, or to locals in Manston and Minster listening to the noise of the trucks (video above).

UPDATE: Extra toilets due to arrive at Manston lorry park site tomorrow


  1. Can you imagine the outcry if migrants arriving on dinghies were treated like this? Yet hard working key workers keeping the country going are being treated worse than dogs!

  2. Do we know how the French Government are treating the drivers held in France, are they potentially going to be provided with the same facilities as the UK will once every thing is set up following a decision made in France 36 hours ago. Will the drivers in France receive and have the same amount of security or will the be left to the mercy of the immigrants trying to get to the UK.

    • Drivers aren’t being held in France. They’re free to come over (and some are indeed still arriving), but many are obviously put off by not knowing when they’ll get back.

    • They are still coming through from France. It is only the french authorities putting a blockade on vehicles coming from the UK as they believe coronavirus is worse here than there ! Now the french are saying only french drivers can come back to France if they are tested and clear. So fingers up to drivers from the rest of Europe then. Typical french nonesense.

  3. For once I agree. ‘By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail’.That says it all.
    At this moment KCC Highways, Highways England and the DFT are squabbling about who is to do what, while HMG and the French Govt are squabbling over tests and access to Calais + Dunkirk.
    See my plan to resolve this matter on the original posting.

  4. So more lies by all concerned-the government & KCC. No toilets, no food, minimal water, no sanitary conditions. Around 900 & probably growing as we speak untested people stuck in a tier 4 zone. Should be a lot of cleaning up to do for the cleaners who start there in January.

  5. One food van! To feed over 800 hungry lorry drivers! No toilets. Oh! dear me. Tidings of comfort and joy it is NOT.

  6. I thought it was quite amusing myself, as I’m sure many lorry drivers would (they may even wish he’d bring along a few hoes!). Lighten up people.

  7. Got to feel really sorry for the lorry drivers, being sent to manston only to find no toilets, no food, no washing facilities. Its shocking how quick this country has become a laughing stock. Both sides, labour and Tories are all made up of ex public school boys , with no idea of what the working person needs.
    Lots of low paid manual workers, NHS, council workers, emergency services, etc have kept this country going for months, whilst the middle management etc have been sat in their nice safe houses logging on for a few hours a day. Still non of this effects them they have plenty of time to order shopping on line at the same time they log on for ‘work’

  8. Why can’t they let mobile food vans line up to serve them? They would probably be happy to do that given they’ve had little trade all year.

      • Typical of this government etc reactive instead of proactive. Honestly which government officials thought ONE food van could feed over 6 thousand truck drivers. Unbelievable.

  9. Not enough Jacob Rees-Boggs up at the Manston Farage garage.
    Even without Covid 19, this was bound to happen. Otherwise, why have a company lined up to run Manston from !st Jan, once Brexit starts? They KNEW it was going to be a problem as their own reports told them so.
    It was calculated that, if each lorry only required up to two extra minutes to check if all the new Customs paperwork was in order, the tail-backs up the M20 would need diversion to Ashford (site not completed yet) or to Manston.

    How many of us could read all the new customs paperwork in only 2 minutes?
    Regardless of whether there is “No Deal” or a roughly cobbled together “Deal” the goods each way have to be checked to see that they correspond to all the different regulations and standards that will apply. I mean, we don’t want to comply with all those horrible European standards, do we?
    So we will have to put up with this until the Customs staff get a quiet nod from on high not to bother to check the lorries properly.
    After all, Brexit voters weren’t too bothered about what, or who, gets carried across the Channel, were they?
    Well, which is most important? The economy? The “horrors of immigration”? Not wanting to “do what the EU tells us”?
    Not wanting to be represented in the European Parliament?
    We can’t have all we want, ever. But, with Brexit, we were promised that all kinds of wonderful things would happen.
    Now we are facing the reality.

  10. From those aerial shots there are no toilets along the full length of the runway meaning all the toilets they have must be at one end forcing drivers to walk the full length of the runway to reach a toilet that’s really sensible when we’re all trying to isolate and mix as little as possible

    • Must be quite the walk if you are touching cloth one would imagine. Then a long wait may be in hand as 900 odd & likely rising into 77 doesn’t put the odds of getting a free one in your favour. Probably is easier just to go in the field.

    • There are toilets the length of the runway. They can be seen in the aerial images. Little green dots at the sides several together in the cutbacks.

  11. This is true. They have just been a delivery of Indian curries donated by the gravesend sikh community.Could not possibly comment about the lack of toilets!!

  12. However, Thanet council says donations are not needed, adding: “The facility at Manston is being managed by the Department for Transport (DfT)

    Lololo blind leading the blind. This country’s leadership is embarrassing

  13. Unfortunately we and the whole world will be in Nuclear war soon. Still look on the bright side it get rid of this Pandemic.. merry Christmas..

  14. There seems to be a lot of correspondents blaming the government the French started this the French love blockades they are always on strike for literally nothing. Anybody who has a brain must know it takes time to get things in place continental lorry dump everything out of their lory windows this fuss is caused by the driver not the government whatever colour they are they could be caught up in the same situation.

    • The French certainly do love their blockades.
      Methinks this is President Macron’s payback, for not getting his own way regarding fishing rights, within the Brexit negotiations.

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