Wow! This Government has finally opened its eyes and recognized that we have a problem on the M20 in Kent.
I’ll be honest here, as it’s been going on since 1988, it’s all governments who failed to recognize we have a problem!
In the beginning Kent was the Garden of England, but then successive governments changed it into the through road of England, quickly followed by the fast train track of England!
I know that we have so many people and lorries and cars all wanting to get out and about and for most of the year our motorways and A-roads cope. But what happens when they don’t?
It only takes a strike over in Calais and there are no ferries – and the French strike frequently! Farmers blockade the port, ferry workers, port workers – even French lorry drivers have gone on strike and blockaded the port of Calais.
All British Governments have ignored this problem – local MPs have shouted themselves hoarse, but it was all in vain! In the first 20 years of Operation Stack was implemented 74 times!
OK, some of these were for bad weather, but most were because of industrial action, but no government has ever helped; Kent County Council have had to fund the police action and other costs from the council tax.
The modern phenomenon of the refugees/immigrants has made this problem so much worse and, combined with the My Ferry Link redundancies causing more problems, operation stack has been implemented so often that it is known locally as Operation Stuck – and there’s still no answer!
Highways England have refused to implement a contra-flow on the London bound carriage way – it has been used successfully before – but as yet they have not come up with another solution. Remember, the Motorways are not the responsibility of the County Council, even though they have to fund the fall out policing etc. If operation stack was on the M25 would they be so slow to sort it out?
What about the lorry drivers’ rest time? How can they, when they are sat waiting on this stretch of road which could move forward a few yards every 20 minutes or so? Come on Highways England – you are compounding tachograph crime!
One last point, whether the people in Calais are illegal immigrants or refugees, what happens to the under 18 unaccompanied minors? They are not taken into care in France or Italy – or if they are, not many of them – there are over 500 taken into care this year alone – all in Kent, all in the care of Kent Services – and these and the 100 or so each year since this problem started are all looked after and funded again by KCC with no government help!
This is not a local problem, there are national and international consequences with transport and other concerns, now you’ve woken up Government, help the people of Kent who are doing your job for you – and paying for it, now – not sometime in the future!