The Freight Transport Association (FTA) says a new report by independent watchdog Transport Focus reflects its own findings about the need for safe lorry parking and decent driver facilities when there are disruptions to cross-Channel services in Kent.
The group examined HGV drivers’ experiences during delays and questioned them about facilities they would like to see at the planned lorry area close to Junction 11 of the M20. This was announced in the Chancellor’s 2015 Autumn Statement at a cost of up to £250m and will replace Operation Stack, the queuing of trucks on the coast-bound M20.
Drivers told Transport Focus that showers as well as toilets were a priority, plus high security parking and quality food outlets. Many said the area should be available to truck drivers at all times and not just during cross-Channel disruptions. They also wanted better information about waiting times via electronic roadside signs.
Natalie Chapman, Head of Policy for London & South East said:
‘The findings by Transport Focus reinforce calls by FTA for an off-road solution to Operation Stack. Queuing vehicles on the motorway not only causes havoc to other motorists, residents and businesses, but it means that only very limited welfare facilities are available for drivers in the queue. Drivers want good quality basic facilities along with information about how long they will be delayed.
‘There is also a chronic shortage of dedicated secure overnight lorry parking facilities in Kent and the creation of the new lorry holding area is a perfect opportunity to try to address this.’