The British International Freight Association (BIFA) has added its voice to growing criticism of government plans to build a huge lorry park in Kent as an alternative solution to Operation Stack – the emergency procedure whereby freight lorries separate into two emergency queues on either side of the carriageway when the are problems with cross channel freight services.
Earlier this month, plans for a lorry park the size of Disneyland on the M20 were criticised by a House of Commons Select Committee that believes the government needs to justify the cost of the build.
Like the committee, BIFA also believes that the government has not clearly demonstrated what options have been evaluated and considers that the decision to proceed with a lorry park project in Kent had ignored some of the usual best practice when planning the expenditure of such large sums of money.
BIFA Director General, Robert Keen, says:
“Our members’ cross-channel trailer services are seriously impacted when there is disruption in the channel ports and Operation Stack comes into action. They are keen for the government to seek a solution to the disruption caused by Operation Stack, but query whether a lorry park is the best approach, given the cost and scale involved.
“It seems a little odd that such a significant amount of money might be spent on a lorry park that might never get used and might not even solve the wider problems.
“BIFA has always said there is not one single fix and a range of options should be considered, including consideration of the use of the M26 to queue rather than park traffic, upgrading of the A2 so that we’ve got two major routes to the port, as well as using smart technology.
“With an announcement expected on the way forward in summer 2016, BIFA members still feel that the government has more work to do to persuade us of the business case for this investment.”