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Manston Lorry Park concept “Insane” - 10th July 2015

North Thanet`s MP, Sir Roger Gale, has described as “insane” a proposal, put forward by the current Leader of Kent County Council, Mr. Carter, to use Manston Airport as an emergency lorry park.

“Seven of Kent`s MP`s have met the Secretary of State for Transport earlier this week to discuss Operation Stack and the gridlock that has faced users of the M20 caused by striking French seamen in Calais ” says the MP. “A number of practical proposals were put forward to resolve the problem and are under consideration but Manston Airport is not one of them.

What is clearly needed is much more advance notice further back along the road system so that truckers are aware of the problems ahead and can take action (via the use of motorway service stations and the like) to alleviate the congestion. We also require two smaller and permanent lorry parks, with proper facilities including most importantly lavatories, off the A2 for Dover and the M”0, probably at Junction 11, for the Tunnel.

The real solution, of course, is for the French government to end the strike and keep the Port of Calais open for the free movement of traffic – which is what I put to the Prime Minister at Question Time on Wednesday.

Manston Airport is in completely wrong location, too far from Dover, further still from the Channel Tunnel and off the wrong motorway system. Added to which the roads approaching Manston Airport are not suited to an influx of hundreds of articulated trucks.

It appears to have escaped Mr. Carter`s notice that Thanet embraces a number of seaside resorts that are in the process of regenerating our tourist trade and the last thing that the area needs is to have our roads clogged up with heavy traffic that is not, as a destination, heading for Thanet during the height of the tourist season – or at all.

Even Cartner and Musgrave`s spokesman, Mr. Mallon, has described the proposal as unworkable and I understand that the Chief Constable of Kent does not relish the thought of hundreds of lorries being diverted miles off their routes along unsuitable roads either.

Once again Carter appears to be trying to promote his “anything but an airport” doctrine at the expense of the wishes and needs of the people of East Kent. The idea is idiotic and it is dead in the water.”

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