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