Operation Stack, Part 2

When the details of Operation Stack were being confirmed only a few years ago, proposal statistics stated that the M20 motorway was a national and trans-national route of importance for the national economy. There is a direct, and physical impact on the county of Kent coming from the Dover Ports as well as Folkestone and that 65% of lorries and ford transits driving in and out of the UK have resting areas within the surrounding Kent ports- due to safety and driver requirements.

Operation Stack is of huge, vital importance to the County of Kent no matter how inconvenient the procedures may be. Since 2004, Operation Stack has been implemented over 32 times and this year is no different with Winter weather conditions disrupting imports, exports on both land, sea and air.

There are many phases to Operation Stack which include closing differing motorways so that the lorries and Ford transits can in actual fact be 'lined up', ready and waiting to proceed with the journey as and when the go-ahead is given. Sometimes the wait can be for several days further disruptions for other road users.

The lorries including Ford transit vans are left parked and waiting within coastal carriageways causing controversy as the motorway is closed completely to the public.

There are 3 phases that (depending on how severe the situation is) unfold starting with the road closing between junctions 11 (Hythe) and 12 (Cheriton) with the A20 providing the only other route. Phase 2 sees the closure of the M20, between Maidstone and Ashford (from Junction 8-9), again with the only other alternative route being the A20. Lastly Phase 3 closes the M20 London bound route from Ashford to Maidstone- junctions 9 and 8.

Weather warnings have been issued advising that people stay in their homes and only drive their ford transit to London if and when necessary. Otherwise, motorways are to be avoided and people are to find alternative methods of transport.