Kent transport plan will deliver for freight industry, says FTA

A new transport plan, published by Kent County Council, will have a direct benefit for freight according to the FTA.

The KCC has outlined 10 priorities in its local transport plan, which highlights key infrastructure developments across the country.

The priorities include:

  • A new Lower Thames Crossing 
  • Port expansion at Dover Western Docks
  • A solution to Operation Stack
  • Splitting port traffic between the M2 and M20 for more efficient traffic management 
  • Provision for overnight lorry parking

Natalie Chapman, head of policy of the FTA for London and the South East, said: “The plan identifies a number of issues that FTA agrees should be a priority for Kent. Lorry parking is a problem throughout the country, but it is especially difficult for drivers approaching the Port of Dover to find a safe place to take their breaks.

“We need a decision on the Lower Thames Crossing and the accompanying improvements to the A2 as soon as possible. Plans for a lorry area at Stanford as an alternative to Operation Stack and the proposed traffic management on the motorways towards the port will all play a key role in keeping freight moving.”

A new Lower Thames Crossing to the east of Gravesend would mean that the M2/A2 becomes the preferred route for freight heading to the Eastern Docks at the Port of Dover.  This would have significant benefits for Dover, as it would no longer be a through route. Vehicles heading towards mainland Europe would be kept out of the town and this will also enable the town to be regenerated.

However, Chapman said that the whole of the A2 north of Dover must be at least dual carriageway otherwise there would be potential bottlenecks adding time and cost to freight journeys.  

“These works must be completed in readiness for the opening of the Lower Thames Crossing and therefore need to feature in the next Roads Investment Strategy for Highways England for 2020-2025.  Most importantly, this would create a more resilient strategic road network in Kent – a major gateway to Europe and beyond,” she said.

The proposed port expansion at Western Docks would help to create more capacity for freight traffic, which is forecast to continue growing.  Chapman adds that it is important that the capacity and systems are in place to keep freight flowing and to prevent it queuing out of the port or having to be held elsewhere.