MP Damian Collins fights for a solution for Operation Stack
MP Collins fights for a solution for Operation Stack
Following the ongoing disruption to the districts roadways and businesses Folkestone and Hythe MP Damian Collins has said that its time to get something done about ‘Operation Stack’ He told The Looker: ‘I met with the Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin, to press for more action to resolve the pressure the County has faced over the last weeks from Operation Stack. I believe that there are three key areas for action. Firstly the need for lorry parking space that could be made available now, should we have another major disruption of the Port of Dover and the Channel Tunnel. We should look at the viability of using land at locations like Manston Airport and the county showground at Detling when available, to provide temporary emergency relief that would also enable us to keep the traffic moving on our roads. Secondly, there is the question of a longer term solution with more off road parking facilities that are available when they are required. Some of these spaces are already being delivered with construction work underway at the Dover port and the approach to the Channel Tunnel at Cheriton. There is room for additional lorry parking to be constructed at the motorway services at junction 11 of the M20. We should also be looking at sites along the M2/A2 route to Dover. An expert team from Kent County Council and the Highways Agency has been working on this plan over the last few months and we would expect to soon see further recommendations from them.The third issue that needs to be addressed is the responsibility of the French authorities to support the movement of goods and people across the Channel, as they are required to do under European law. The major disruptions we have seen over the last two weeks are a direct result of criminal damage from striking ferry workers in Calais at the Channel Tunnel terminal. There was no good reason why the Tunnel should have been closed, and it wouldn’t have been if the French authorities had been able to protect it. Strikers and migrants would not be allowed to break into high security areas of an airport, and nor should they be able to do so at the Channel Tunnel. The British government has provided £12million in assistance to the French authorities to help secure the Tunnel and Port at Calais, but this is primarily their responsibility. If they are failing to provide the necessary protection at what would be considered to be a reasonable level, then the European Commission should be looking into taking proceedings against them’.