The Department of Transport have just released plans to increase overnight lorry parking capacity to nearly 1,500, to combat the increase of fly-parking across the south-east and other parts of the country. Announced as part of their Operation Stack update, which was designed to keep the ports moving after serious disruption, the new announcement will be part of a much broader strategy.
To build upon the Secretary of State’s statement last November, Highways England are due to start the consultation process on a more permanent plan for holding lorries in the event of disruption. This will be coupled with an information gathering exercise due to start in June.
The consultation aims to look at more broad solutions rather than singling out specific locations. There are various planning applications in the pipeline that could equate to over 1,000 additional spaces across the country. However, Highways England have started to review their landholdings in order to identify locations with the potential to be developed into overnight lorry parks. Initial estimates suggests that there is the potential for 1,500 additional parking spaces nationwide. More detailed analysis and feasibility studies are being carried out in the next six months.
In parallel to this, the department are also looking into steps to make it easier for local authorities to take enforcement action against hauliers who park inappropriately. In Kent, for example, a trial on a stretch of the A20 of innovative enforcement approaches has seen a significant drop in the number of vehicles parked overnight.
Whilst the enforcement actions may be fine once the lorry parks are in place, it is too soon to be rolling out any such measures in the short-term. The team at Transmode know all to well about the disruptions caused by cross channel issues and adverse weather, so it is positive to hear that the steps are being taken to take care of our drivers overnight and not force them into drastic or desperate situations.