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12 August 2016, 12:19 | Updated: 12 August 2016, 12:22
A consultation on plans to build a major new lorry area just off the M20 as an alternative to Operation Stack has opened.
Highways England says it wants as many people as possible to have have their say on the design of the new Stanford West lorry area, with the consultation lasting from 12 August until September 23.
The organisation will work closely with residents and businesses to minimise the site’s impact on the surrounding area.
It is being built to keep the M20 moving during disruption to cross-channel services, and comes after Kent roads faced 32 days of disruption last summer.
A sum of £250 million has been committed to the alternative to Operation Stack, where lorries park along a closed M20 when there are delays at the channel ports.
The lorry park at Stanford West, on the M20 close to junction 11, was selected as the preferred site last month following a separate consultation between December 2015 and January 2016.
Highways England project director Adrian Sheppard said: "This is a solution to the problems caused by Operation Stack that has been talked about for decades, but on which we have made a great deal of progress less than a year.
"Following our consultation earlier this year we have been working hard to refine our plans and are now keen to hear what people think about these. I encourage anyone who would like to understand more or ask questions to visit us at one of the public exhibitions we are holding."
Stanford West, which will be used to park up to 3,600 lorries during disruption, will minimise the impact on the M20 and on the region’s other roads to allow people and companies to go about their business as normally as possible.
After receiving strong support during the previous consultation, Highways England is exploring whether to use the site to provide overnight lorry parking to stop lorries parking on roads not intended for their use.
Construction work is due to start as soon as possible with spaces available from summer 2017.
Details of the consultation are available here https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/management-of-freight-vehicles-through-kent