The SEA (Sellindge-Evegate/Aldington) Proposal: Solving Operation Stack M20:

£250 Million to Solve Operation Stack M20

The Chancellor in the Autumn Statement 2015 (25 November 2015) allocated £250 Million to provide a permanent solution to Operation Stack M20. The Leader of Kent County Council stated in his evidence to the Transport Select Committee, House of Commons on the 14 October 2015 that he seeks two lorry parks near the M20 of 1,000 and 4,000 lorries in capacity.

 

Operation Stack in July/August 2015 cost UK STG 7 Billion.

28 days of Operation Stack in July/August 2015 is estimated (based on the Port of Dover STG £250 Million per day calculation) to have cost the UK STG £7 Billion in costs and lost business.

The SEA Solution, Sellindge-Evegate/Aldington (3,000 lorries, between J10-J11 M20), to Operation Stack was selected on technical merit by Government Office of the South East (GOSE) in 2006 and then by Kent County Council (KCC), Kent Police and the Freight Transport Association in 2008, re-confirmed by KCC in 2013. If Central Government can fund Kent County Council to deliver this technically best solution soon, these funds could be clawed-back from the development under the Ashford Growth Area targets of 31,000 houses and 28,000 jobs.

Paul Carter, Leader, Kent County Council stated in his written Submission to the Transport Select Committee, House of Commons (Operation Stack) on the 14 October 2015, that: ‘6.3 Under instruction from Government to deliver a solution “at pace”, a subsequent report to the Cabinet Office Briefing Room (COBR) in August outlined a package of on and off-highway measure to hold approximately 5,500-6,500 HGVs which includes:

  • Potential lorry holding area close to the M20 capable of catering for approximately 4,000 HGVs;
  • Potential extension of STOP24 lorry park site capable of catering for up to 1,000 HGVs.’

Monserat Properties Ltd, established in 2000 by Dr. Rehan ul-Haq, is the fulcrum of a strategic infrastructure alliance to enable a solution to Operation Stack, the parking of freight vehicles on the M20. A team of experts have engineered a multilevel and multidimensional alliance between appropriate private and the public sector organisations.

Operation Stack M20 involves the parking of up to 3,000 lorries on the M20 when the Channel Tunnel and/or the Dover ferry crossings are closed, which causes the sporadic but highly-disruptive seizing-up of a major national (and trans-European) road artery system. Delivering a long-term solution to Operation Stack M20 solution is Objective 1 in Kent County Council's Freight Action Plan 2012-2016; and the selected (relief lorry park) location is at Sellindge-Evegate/Aldington (SEA, hereinafter) between Junction 10 and 11 on the M20.

The operational improvement of the Eire/UK/continental Europe road linkages is also designated as High Priority under the major EU Initiative, the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) Programme; and the M20 is a key element in these linkage systems.

Solving Operation Stack M20 would deliver the following international, national and local benefits:

  • Reduce congestion and disruption on the M20 and the diversion of traffic on to the A20 and other roads;
  • Reduce time and disruption delays for haulier/their customers; and other motorists;
  • Save British business (at minimum) over £1 million per day of implementation (Freight Transport Association);
  • Remove any future need for the Highways Agency to re-lease the Quick Removable Barrier solution at a cost of over £600,000 per annum;
  • Realise additional police savings of over £15,000 per day of implementation, plus 90 officers' time (Kent Police);
  • Reduce the associated negative financial and environmental impacts on local businesses and residents.
  • On sum: it would reduce the clogging by lorries of routes between UK and the rest of Europe on this major transport artery (and the surrounding major and minor roads) with all of the associated disruptions, damage and dangers involved.

There is a separate – although related – problem that MPL proposals re, the SEA development would also address:

In 2007, an independent report on secure lorry parking submitted to the European Commission stated that "the number of truck parking areas in the UK in general is not sufficient and that the level of security of existing parking areas is not satisfactory. Furthermore, there are in general not enough secured parking areas. In particular in Kent (RoRo traffic) there are capacity problems" this remains the case today (2013).

There is also a local/regional problem: the congested/often disrupted local transport system surrounding the M20 is hampering local/regional development goals, and prospects.

Sir Rod Eddington (Eddington Transport Study) was of the view that the HM Treasury value for money criteria can be met from small targeted spend which removes infrastructure bottlenecks. Operation Stack M20 is a major bottleneck on trade between the whole of the UK and Europe. Solving Operation Stack M20 will allow hauliers, and all their UK clients, to trade goods to/from Europe at a lower cost, one that can be made available to customers or the associated savings used to grow the firm and its staff.

In June of 2013, Her Majesty’s Treasury committed the funding required to build all pipeline Highways Agency road projects. Among the projects, subject to finalisation of options and agreement being reached on developer contributions, is a new junction onto the M20, near Ashford Kent, complemented by a link road to the A2070 at Ashford and connect to the A20.

This is a significant step forward for:

  • Kent County Council (KCC); as a new M20 junction, if located at Sellindge-Evegate/ Aldington would provide the infrastructure to serve a lorry park located at Sellindge-Evegate/ Aldington, KCCs longstanding preferred site for a permanent solution to Operation Stack as reaffirmed by the KCC cabinet minister for transport as recently as March 2013.
  • Highways Agency; as an offline solution to Operation Stack obviates the need for lorries to be parked on the coastbound carriageway of the M20 for days at a time.
  • Ashford Borough Council; as a new M20 junction, if located at Sellindge-Evegate/ Aldington would significantly boost highway capacity opening up land, including that held by the Church Commissioners and AXA REIM, to the south-east of Ashford for future development and economic regeneration

Solving Operation Stack M20: Boosting Business: Enabling Regeneration