McLoughlin announces preferred location for 3,600-vehicle Kent lorry park

The transport secretary has announced the preferred location for a permanent parking facility for up to 3,600 lorries which would be used in the event of cross-channel transport disruption.

Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin
Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin

Patrick McLoughlin today announced that he had asked government roads quango the Highways Agency to progress work on the project at a site west of the M20 junction 11 at Stanford West in Kent.

Proposals for the facility followed repeated incidences of cross-Channel road-freight traffic becoming backlogged and blocking the motorway, necessitating a management operation named "Operation Stack".

McLoughlin's announcement follows a consultation on the proposal which was carried out by Highways England.

A government statement said that nearly twice as many people thought the facility should be located at Stanford West than those who thought it should be built at an alternative site to the north of junction 11, "because, among other reasons, it would have been close to an area of outstanding natural beauty."

Highways England will develop the facility using powers available under Section 115 of the Highways Act 1980, replacing the need for a planning application.

However, according to a report on the public consultation, a full Environmental Impact Assessment will now need to be prepared "to assist the secretary of state in the final decision process."

The report said that statutory consultation on this, to published in the coming weeks, would be "likely to include a greater level of design detail including site layout and potential operational models of any preferred site, along with any associated necessary highway works to be undertaken."

In June, MPs on the Commons' transport select committee warned that the plan to create the lorry park had been "rushed" and "lacks a business case".

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