The implementation of a contraflow on the M20 in Kent

The implementation of a contraflow on the M20 in Kent to get traffic moving again during Operation Stack is the way forward, according to the Freight Transport Association (FTA).

The statement was made by FTA after attending the Kent County Council (KCC) Operation Stack Summit held on Monday 27th July in Maidstone, where several long-term solutions to the problem on the motorway were discussed.

As a result of the European Gateway Strategic Delivery Group meeting at KCC it was agreed that a report would be sent to the Secretary of State outlining the long-term solutions, including the option of extending the current lorry parking facilities in Ashford at Stop 24.

However, in the meantime FTA called for the immediate introduction of a contraflow to be implemented on the M20 as soon as possible, and to remain in place throughout the summer to alleviate the situation and to keep traffic through the county of Kent to keep moving.

Natalie Chapman, FTA Head of Policy South East England said: 

“Long term answers are certainly the way forward, but we need a solution to Operation Stack now.  FTA has called for a contraflow to be introduced on the M20 as soon as possible to keep Kent open during what is the busiest time of the year for traffic in the county.”

Operation Stack is when lorries park on the M20 during cross-Channel disruption, and has been used in recent weeks because of French strike action.

Lorry drivers, freight operators, local businesses and residents have all been affected during the numerous occasions that Operation Stack has been implemented covering 35 miles of the Kent motorway which has led to over 3,000 trucks being stuck on occasions.

Ms Chapman added: “Local businesses are telling us that Operation Stack is having a devastating impact on them and a solution must be found now to keep the M20 and Kent open this summer. We are delighted that we have the support of Kent County Council and local MPs to address this and that Highways England have agreed to urgently review our suggestion of a contraflow on the M20. If successful, we could see something in place as early as next week.”

Highways England has now been tasked with reporting back to KCC within 24 hours to outline their solution to the situation.

Earlier today FTA outlined the cost of the port delays on both sides of the Channel saying that it is costing the UK logistics industry £750,000 a day.

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