Freight News, Road

Spending £250m on Kent lorry park is ‘bonkers’ says MP

[ January 27, 2016   //   ]

Parliamentary Freight Transport Group chairman Rob Flello has criticised Government plans to spend up to £250 million on a lorry park in Dover as “a poor use of public funds.” His criticism came as the Government announced an inquiry into the measures currently taken and facilities used whenever vehicle flows in Kent are interrupted.

The MP for Stoke-on-Trent said: “Spending up to a quarter of a billion on a car park seems absolutely bonkers – a worryingly poor use of public funds.

The Government could improve the road network, perhaps adding extra lanes to the M20, make better use of signage, or even use the money towards building another bridge over the Thames and holding traffic back north of the river.”

Tory Chancellor George Osborne announced funding for the project in his Autumn Statement and the Government plans to consult on a preferred site at Stanford and other alternatives shortly.

In the short term, the former Manston Airport site could be used as a lorry park whenever Operation Stack is invoked by Kent Police and the Port of Dover.

In October last year, the Transport Committee took evidence on the impact of Operation Stack after a summer in which it was used on a record number of days.

Members have since decided to hold an inquiry in the knowledge that the proposed lorry park will change the nature of Operation Stack.

Mr Flello, said: “Though I’m clearly very much opposed to the lorry park plan, if there’s anybody out there who wishes to convince me otherwise, this is their ideal opportunity to do so.”

Meanwhile, the Transport Select Committee is particularly keen to receive written submissions by Monday, 29 February on the effect of a new lorry park on the planning, management and implementation of Operation Stack; the predicted benefits and dis-benefits of changes to Operation Stack if a lorry park is built and the extent to which current negative impacts will be mitigated by the creation of a lorry park; short-term solutions needed to improve Operation Stack while construction of a lorry park is under way; and other actions that central and local government need to take, including those on road maintenance and improvement.

The inquiry will not consider proposals for specific sites of any permanent lorry park, as this is already being considered by a planning enquiry.