The RHA has released a press statement regarding the outcome of the court decision not to allow a purpose built holding area and truck stop on the M20. Instead it looks like we will return to ‘Operation Stack’ or using the M20 as a giant lorry park with no driver facilities.
The RHA said it was ‘disappointed to learn that the Department for Transport’s Judicial Review into the planned lorry park in Kent has been rejected’
They went on to say ‘The judges ruled that the proposed holding area for Operation Stack at Stanford West, designed to provide safe and secure parking for approximately 3,600 lorries, cannot go ahead because no environmental assessment was carried out prior to the review.
Commenting, RHA chief executive Richard Burnett said: “I find it beyond belief as to why the most basic of procedures, that of an environmental assessment was not undertaken simply on the assumption that it was not needed.
“This facility is of massive importance to hauliers and the people of Kent. We understand that the alternatives are to extend the truck park at Manston and to utilise 2 lanes of the M20. This red-tape debacle is a complete disaster for hauliers coming over from the Continent. Two years ago we saw the misery of operators who, for many days, were caught up in the gridlock of Operation Stack. Even the most basic requirements for HGV drivers such as toilet facilities and drinking water were non-existent. And for the people and economy of Kent, the cost was enormous.
“As Brexit approaches we are pushing hard for free-flowing customs border controls. If we cannot achieve the right Brexit deal, we could be looking at customs border queues which could potentially cause misery for hauliers and the residents and businesses of Kent. Can you imagine Operation Stack becoming a daily way of life? The Road Haulage Association is committed to working with DfT to find a workable solution.”
Our own view is that overall we are seeing a situation whereby the Government is penalising drivers without providing workable alternatives. By all means let’s start tidying up the criteria about where and when a truck can stop overnight and at weekends, but let’s offer some alternative otherwise we will ultimately pay the price. It appears that even when the Government attempts an alternative they don’t get it right…..