Government spends £12,000 a day on unused lorry parking contingency

Posted On: 
30th January 2018

The Road Haulage Association is dismayed to learn the Government has spent nearly £6m to rent Kent’s Manston Airport as an emergency lorry parking area if Operation Stack is used.

Engineers prepare the site of disused Manston Airport in Kent as the Government confirmed that it will serve as an emergency lorry park as part of a temporary alternative to vehicles queuing on the M20 when Operation Stack is enforced.

The figures made available through a Freedom of Information request cover the period August 2015 to 15 December 2017.

RHA chief executive Richard Burnett said: “Manston Airport was only supposed to be a short-term contingency following the mayhem we saw on the M20 during the summer of 2015, but two and a half years later the taxpayer is still footing the bill for a facility that’s never been used.

“It’s a completely unsuitable location as the road network in that part of Kent is not geared up to accommodating hundreds of HGVs, yet the Government is spending £12,000 a day to keep it available when it should be investing in proper parking facilities.”

In November 2017 a proposed 3,600-space site off the M20 in Stanford, Kent was rejected as an environment assessment wasn’t undertaken.

“Following the Stanford debacle and at a time when lorry drivers parking in Ashford are being punished with huge hikes in clamping release fees, the Department for Transport needs to find a permanent solution quickly,“ he continued.

“The taxpayer and the haulier are suffering. We need secure lorry parks, not more sticking plasters and punitive measures.”