Manston airfield to be used as lorry park amid migrant crisis

Manston airfield to be used as lorry park amid migrant crisis

Manston airfield in Kent will be used as a temporary measure to park lorries in a bid to reduce pressure on the M20 during Operation Stack.

The move comes amid ongoing disruption to cross-Channel services operated by Eurotunnel and ferry companies due to the migrant crisis and strike action in Calais.

The Port of Dover welcomed government action to alleviate the disruption caused to local residents, holidaymakers and freight operators caused by disruption in Calais and at Eurotunnel, which resulted in the need for Operation Stack to be implemented.

But the port warned that a heavy goods vehicle holding area at the former Manston airport site for Dover-bound traffic “is neither proven to work nor a permanent solution in itself”.

Dover port chief executive Tim Waggott said: "While it is welcome news that the government is taking further action to alleviate the significant knock on effects in south east Kent caused by the ongoing problems in Calais and at Eurotunnel, attention should not slip away from finding a solution that provides lasting resilience at this nationally important strategic freight corridor.

“We have some concerns over the practicalities of the solution proposed but remain committed to working with all our partners to maintain traffic fluidity."

Transport minister Lord Ahmad said: “Working together we have found a viable short-term solution to the disruption residents and industry in the M20 corridor from Dover to Maidstone have been experiencing in recent weeks as a result of Operation Stack.

“By using Manston airfield we have secured an interim solution while we work to find a longer term resolution, which meets the needs of the whole of Kent and of course the interests of British industry.”

Highways England director of network delivery and development David Brewer said: “We are committed to working with our partners to keep traffic moving as well as possible on the M20 and to minimise any disruption on surrounding roads in Kent.

“We advise road users affected by Operation Stack to plan ahead and check traffic conditions and advice from travel operators before setting out; to leave plenty of time for journeys and while on the road to listen to travel news bulletins for latest information.

“We would ask all travellers to particularly look out for local signs and electronic message boards that will guide them to their destinations.”


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