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The Immigrant Lorry Crisis

When it comes to news reports involving the professional driving industry, there is a scarcity in themes. Largely, reports fall into three categories; road accidents involving HGVs, the implications that Brexit may have and the ‘illegal immigrant lorry crisis’. The immigrant crisis, as it’s labelled, is a topic which we at Barnes are yet to speak on, and it is a topic that can be difficult to discuss as there are various elements to it – but as an issue which can compromise the safety of hardworking professional drivers, it is one we feel compelled to explore.

A story of ‘illegal immigrants’ recently circulated the British tabloids; eleven people, including three children and a baby, entered the UK by lorry, only surviving their journey by eating the chocolate that the haulier was carrying. The circumstances surrounding this particular story are not uncommon; the group had boarded the lorry as it travelled from mainland Europe and then secured the vehicle in such a way that it could not be easily opened again, reducing the likelihood of them being found before reaching their desired destination. Although this narrative is a commonality, it is important to consider that not all who secretly stow themselves away are criminals, in many cases, the very act of illegal hitch-hiking appears desperate and involves a significant level of risk to it, suggesting that it is entirely possible that the people found on board were refugees or asylum seekers who simply hoped for a safer life based in the UK.

 

In such situations, regardless of the circumstances of the stowaway, it is also important for us to address how drivers can deal with such situations, as ensuring their safety is paramount. Unfortunately, many professional drivers feel let down by the existingHYPERLINK “https://www.gov.uk/guidance/secure-your-vehicle-to-help-stop-illegal-immigration” legalities; as it currently stands, legislation states that drivers must secure their lorry in a way that would prevent anyone from entering the trailer. In the event of a ‘clandestine entrant’ being found on board, drivers can face a fine of £2000 per person found on board. Even if the driver did not willingly or knowingly transport them, they face the fine as it demonstrates that their vehicle security measures have failed, and were therefore insufficient. These penalties are severe, particularly when the majority of drivers are not intentionally smuggling people across borders; in many cases, the desperation of stowaways can overcome the efforts of the driver, and there have been multiple cases reported where the driver has checked, rechecked, and even passed through specialised scanning equipment, but all have failed to detect any bodies on board. In such instances, the driver truly cannot be held accountable; if advanced technology fails to find stowaways, how could the driver be expected to? And yet many miles later, when eventually discovered, both the driver and stowaways face being detained.

 

It seems that the system of fining and detaining has fuelled anger towards immigrants who cross borders on lorries. Make no mistake, we are certainly not encouraging, agreeing with or promoting illegal immigration, but, we urge both the government and public to consider the safety of both the driver and immigrants. Our hardworking drivers should not be penalised or faced with potential penalties in these events, nor should they be locked away in a cell whilst investigations are begun.

 

As a business that operates within the logistics industry, we know that drivers are experiencing this far too commonly, and as a result, better systems are needed immediately, as they cannot continue to be subjected to the physical, emotional and financial stress that comes with the discovery of unknown passengers in their vehicle and the legalities that follow. If the circumstances are not addressed, we fear that drivers will continue down this same road for the foreseeable future, but we are hopeful that if we, and others alike, continue to raise awareness of this issue, policy makers will be encouraged to take necessary action.

 

Please share with us how you think our country can better protect our professional drivers by dropping us a tweet.

HGV Cab Cameras and Media Perception: Is This The Turning Point?

This year, Highways England have harnessed HGVs to help tackle dangerous driving on our roads. Using secret wide angle cameras in unmarked lorries’ dashboards, the inconspicuous trucks have been capturing video records of unsafe driving behaviour.

 

The move follows the success of a trial last year, which saw over 4,000 dangerous drivers caught. By allowing unsuspecting law breakers to be followed by the cab and have their behaviour recorded, police forces could then pull over the offenders and deal with the situation – be it a warning, or a prosecution.

 

What was promising and encouraging to see is the mainstream media’s reaction to these announcements. Rather than berate the ‘spying’ HGVs, the reaction to the police and Highway England’s efforts to increase road safety through immediate intervention has been, on the whole, positive. Although the phrase ‘spy camera’ has a somewhat antagonistic feel, national news outlets reporting about the HGV cameras in a favourable manner.

 

With the exception of a few pieces implying that the new camera systems are an underhand enemy to be loathed, the majority focus instead on what is most important – the driving crimes which are being caught. These cameras aren’t just there to catch out drivers going slightly over the speed limit: they have caught drivers using their mobile phones at the wheel – the dangers of which have never been more prominent than in recent years – a driver writing on a notepad, one eating a meal and even another brushing their teeth!

 

So why is reaction so important? Historically, reporting on HGVs has taken the same one-sided route – sensationalistic pieces reporting lorries’ near misses and irresponsible driving. Although, of course, such behaviour from professional drivers is absolutely abhorrent and should be disciplined appropriately – the issue lies within the bias of reporting and how this influences public perception.

 

If the only stories the public read about the professional driving industry in consumer media outlets involve the few extreme cases of poor and dangerous driving, an assumption will grow about the whole of the driving industry. This can lead to misconceptions and seriously tarnish the reputation of the majority of the safe, skilful HGV drivers whose dedicated work allows the UK’s businesses to thrive. Without HGVs, the country and its economy would come to a standstill – an aspect which is never mentioned in stories reporting on dangerous HGV driving.

 

So the positive reaction to the HGV in-cab cameras is a step in the right direction – at the least, it gives another perspective to HGV stories. Although we are, of course, not there yet in a balanced and fair narrative on lorries in consumer media, we can take hope from the start of this movement and continue to raise the profile of the industry ourselves through our highest quality Barnes professional standards.

Beating the Winter Blues

The decorations go up, the glasses get re-filled and the out of office goes on – there’s nothing like a festive break, is there? That is, of course, for those who work office jobs where the whole business can shut down for a week or two and get picked back up again in January. For drivers, the reality can be a little different – whether it’s delivering stock for post-Christmas sales or vital machinery parts for businesses, the world of logistics keeps turning and the roads keep calling, and drivers are often on the road when others are tucked up at home in front of the fire.

 

It is, admittedly, something which can cause drivers to experience some melancholy – which is why, following our previous discussions on mental health and summer driving attitude, we have decided to extend the conversation to a time when many people can often feel at their lowest. A study from the Samaritans in 2014 found that almost half of men felt depressed or sad around Christmas, and with logistics and driving still male-dominated industries (something that we most certainly hope will, and actively work towards, changing), it felt appropriate to look at how those who work in the professional driving sector might be able to help tackle swings of low mood in the run up, and during, the festive period.

 

The first step we would look to take would be one of practicality – countless studies have shown that eating the right foods and treating the body with the respect it deserves has a huge impact on serotonin levels, helping to battle low moods. This doesn’t mean you have to forego the classic Christmas delicacies – the high levels of zinc in walnuts can help in alleviating feelings of anxiety and depression; and sumptuous flavanol-rich dark chocolate helps to regulate mood.

 

Now, we move towards actions which help to engage others – use the time you have, whether it be on or off the road, to bring the merriment to you wherever you are. Make every moment count and ensure time off is filled with activities – drinks at the local with friends, parties hosted with family or, quite simply, sitting down with loved ones to watch a favourite film. There’s no value that can be put on restive quality time. This should not be limited to time away from work – connect with colleagues and other regular road acquaintances and organise some festive fun. Anything as small as organising a round of bacon butties will perk up spirits all round. And the best part of stepping up and leading the charge? You never know how much you might be helping others who are feeling low by reaching out and making that first move.

 

Our final piece of advice begins to move away from the functional and towards the mental – driving over the Christmas period requires a shift in approach and thinking. Embrace the season – avoiding the revelry of December is nearing the impossible, and attempting this will only leave one in misery; so play your family’s favourite festive songs in the cab and take advantage of the opportunity to reflect on one’s blessings. As we speak of reflection, it is worth noting that the increasingly popular act of Mindfulness (the practice of bringing one’s attention to the present moment) may be a useful tool to master – the quiet roads and the beauty of Britain in its wintery glory provide the perfect backdrop to take some time to contemplate and appreciate the state of now. The most important matter to focus on? The visualisation of being back home – after all, as much as we may not be overjoyed working over December, we must focus on the fact that it is all temporary, and soon we will back home in front of the warmth of the fire, with the decorations glittering and our glasses full – Merry Christmas!

A Look Back on Road Safety Week

Last week was one of the biggest events in the transport calendar: Road Safety Week. Having commenced on the 20th November, the week, ran by the charity Brake, focused on highlighting the dire need to tackle the serious issue of speeding. Despite an increase in the associated fines and the shockingly high statistics surrounding fatal speed-related accidents, many road users persist in breaking the law, but Brake have pinpointed a simple fact in their vital slogan: Speed Down, Save Lives. Reducing the speed at which a vehicle is operating can often make the difference between life and death in the event of a road traffic accident.

Throughout the week, the organisation centred their efforts around emphasising the dangers of speeding on rural roads and built up areas where pedestrians and cyclists are more likely to be at risk. The initiative, which was promoted within schools, organisations and communities, cannot be echoed enough, so here at Barnes, we are seizing the opportunity to push the message out to our fellow road users and members of the freight and transport industry. In this latest discussion we shall consider the importance of speed limits, how speeding affects our roads and how we can all, as responsible road users, resolve the ever-prevalent problem of speeding together.

Speed limits, contrary to what some believe, are here to make our roads safer for everyone. They are proposed based on a number of factors (risk, danger and environment) and account for elements such as housing, schools and road layout. In April, the Government raised speeding fines in a bid to deter drivers from the temptation of breaking the law. Offenders can now expect a minimum of 3 points on their license (for minor offences – the number of points issued correlates to the severity of the speeding offence) and a fine of around 50% of their weekly income, although this can be increased to 150%. These penalties are larger still for new drivers. But, even with such severe consequences for drivers, why is speeding still a major issue?

There are risks associated with all road vehicles; this is to be expected. Newer vehicles, for example, can accelerate more quickly than aged vehicles, whilst older cars are somewhat less reliable. However, driving behaviour is a large associating factor when it comes to speeding. Speeding is choice that drivers make, a selfish one at that. The statistics gathered by Break speak for themselves, speeding is undeniably dangerous:

  • Breaking the speed limit or travelling too fast for conditions is recorded by police at crash scenes as a contributory factor in one in four (23%) fatal crashes in Great Britain.
  • Drivers with one speeding violation annually are twice as likely to crash as those with none.
  • A recent Brake survey found that four in 10 (40%) UK drivers admitted they sometimes drive at 30mph in 20mph zones.

So how can this problem be overcome? Largely it comes with awareness. The saying ‘ignorance is bliss’ can be called upon here – often those who speed are ignorant to the potential dangers have been fortunate enough to not suffer the consequences – yet. Campaigners adopt a variety of awareness methods, from visual scare tactics to demonstrate the extreme realities of speeding accidents, to cognitive approaches that rather than using horrific aesthetics promote a ‘look twice’ method, where the audience have to re-watch the ad to see the underlying message – THINK!’s latest ‘Pink Kitten’ campaign is a fantastic example of this. Brake’s Road Safety Week is a credit to the UK’s highways in the work it conducts to overcome the problem. From social media campaigns to donations, action packs, virtual games and merchandise, the charity exerts every effort possible into truly making a difference, both during the marked week and throughout the rest of the year. Here at Barnes, we believe that they make a significant difference.

As a company who have over 100 drivers on the road each day, safety is absolutely paramount, to both our drivers and other road users. We will continue to promote the road values we hold and encourage all drivers to put safety first in the hope that we can make our roads a safer place. With hard work and determination, we are confident that speeding and the consequences it stimulates can become an issue of the past.

Rochdale Business Awards Success

Earlier this year, we entered Barnes Logistics into the annual Rochdale Business Awards after our first successful year at our new headquarters.

 

Established in 2011 to celebrate the achievements of businesses and business people within Rochdale Borough, we entered the ‘Business of the Year’ category, for businesses with a turnover of more than £5 million.

Rochdale Awards 5

The judging panel were looking to see how a business had performed over the past year in terms of turnover, team expansions and growth opportunities. In the past year we are proud of our incredible business expansion – increasing our fleet and team lead to needing to move to larger headquarters; and later in the year we grew the business even further by acquiring the haulage company GA Newsome. This business growth meant that we could create further jobs in Rochdale, and the opportunity to bring our top quality professional logistics services to even more time critical businesses.

 

We also outlined the highest standards to which each and every Barnes employee is trained – every driver is CPC qualified and then internally assessed, and graduates are closely mentored to develop to supervisory and managerial positions.

 

Finally, the judges were looking to see what businesses did to give back to their community – and we are proud of our commitment to supporting Springhill Hospice this year. Not only this, but our MD Chris Barnes also sponsors a number of sporting institutions across the North West.

 

The event was held at the magnificent Rochdale Town Hall, where our team met and mingled with other like-minded business professional in the glitz and glamour of a black-tie event. We were delighted to be announced as winners for the Business of the Year, in the highest turnover category. After the awards ceremony, we continued to the after party for a well-deserved celebratory drink!

If you’d like to know more about how our award-winning company could help your business for all of your logistics needs, don’t hesitate to contact our team today.

Black Friday: Impossible Without Logistics

As Black Friday looms and eager shoppers wait with bated breath to get their hands on the latest deals, the world of logistics is gearing up to work harder than ever. The modern American ‘tradition’ of shops tempting in savvy spenders looking for Christmas bargains with their best deals of the year for one day only has crossed the pond to Britain in the last decade, but what affect does it have on our industry?

 

For the shoppers looking to find purchases in stores on Black Friday, strategic planning is needed by managers in order to ensure that they carry the right amount of stock for the suspected demand. There could be few things worse than losing out on both a sale and customer trust by having to inform them that their desired item is out of stock after hours of queueing. So before the bustling chaos of Black Friday has even begun, logistics professionals will be working closely with retail managers months in advance to deliver the additional stock before the doors open to the public.

 

An emerging trend of recent years, to be expected in this digital age, is that more and more people are taking to the internet to buy their bargains during both Black Friday and its virtual sister Cyber Monday. With online shopping comes another added step in the supply chain. Rather than drivers delivering goods to a store’s warehouse, they must now pick up goods and deliver these directly to the end user.

 

In our previous blog, we explored the pitfalls to the realities of same day delivery, with online retail giants such as Amazon having to pull their same day service. But we must remember that, particularly in times of high demand, that even next day delivery capacity is finite. With so many customers expected to be clicking and adding to carts online, it is not within reason to expect each and every customer to be able to receive their goods the next day.

 

Retailers looking to embrace Cyber Monday must set their delivery targets realistically and handle customer expectations: it is far better to give a customer a longer delivery time slot in the first instance than promise a target which either cannot be achieved, or puts an undue level of pressure on the logistics driver.

 

Which leads us onto our next point: even without next day deliveries, the impact which Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping trends have on the professional drivers of the UK is considerable. Drivers will be expected to work hard to keep up with demand, which is where stringent company Health & Safety regulations and rules are most important. As logistics leaders, we at Barnes Logistics ensure that any increased workload from customers does not lead to an impossibly increased workload on our dedicated drivers – it means investing in more team members. Never do our drivers feel as though they have unattainable delivery targets, leading to illegally long hours on the road.

 

This Black Friday and Cyber Monday, never forget the importance of enlisting the help of qualified, experienced supply chain professionals – they could be the difference between success or failure. If you’d like to find out more about how our teams can help you, get in touch today.

Intelligent Design – An Evolution For The Environment

The following paragraphs almost read quite differently to how they currently do, with writes, re-writes, and much editing down in an attempt to try and get over a point which is of much concern to us and, we hope, the broader public. It was few thousand words which, at times and rather uncomfortably, teetered on the edge of that chasm of apocalypse which characterizes the, understandably impassioned but often irrational, debate regarding pollution and the environment which it, without any doubt, is doing great damage to. Then an announcement was made by the Department of Transport, and it changed, entirely, the tone in which this latest blog speaks, with negativity giving way to positivity.

The announcement stated that the UK government intends to bring to an end the sale of new diesel and petrol-powered cars by the year 2040. That is, at present, only ‘the sale’, and specifically ‘new cars’, and comes as the latest in a line of announcements by other governments and of car manufacturers, indicating some strong momentum away from internal combustion. At a first cynical glance, from a UK perspective, this means that the used fossil-fuel car market will take a good decade-or-so to wind down, and there may suddenly be a mushrooming of sales of small vans as people attempt to take advantage of such loopholes. So it is, realistically, quite a long time down the road, and much can happen before then. I mean, to lend the timeline some perspective, a young couple who may have just invested in a smart new car, could, if purchase and re-purchase trends hold, be on their fourth or fifth new car some twenty-three years from now, and on their way to a maternity unit to welcome their latest grandchild into the world.

How does this affect the operations of Barnes Logistics? On the face of it, not a great deal. However, it isn’t some irrational display of clairvoyance to predict that heavy goods vehicles will one day benefit from a massive propulsion re-design, and it got us thinking as to what will our fleet of lorries will look like in the year 2040. It’s just that we’re not planning on going anywhere but forward, up to and beyond that date with destiny for cars, in the future.

Nobody could really say operating a modern fleet of trucks is fun recreation – it’s costly, a headache of regulations, and they are rather attention-seeking when it comes to the strict maintenance regime we observe. A fleet consumes thousands of litres of fuel per day, and operations are replete with any number of factors which can impede or halt progress. However, they are quite an essential tool in industry, supporting people and growth and contributing to prosperity for all. Aye, there’s the rub, and as things stand, it is a real question of ‘To be or not to be?’ if one wishes to retain a presence in the road transport industry. For the present and for the movement on the roads of the size of loads our trucks and those of other operators carry, diesel trucks are the only cost-effective show in town. For the future, however, we at Barnes hasten the advent of economically and environmentally efficient hybrid commercial vehicles. The technology is there, and has been for many, many years. From the once familiar sight of an electric milk-float, right up to some of the largest quarrying trucks, moving 350+ tonnes per-load. It is a question of range and efficiency with regards application, but it will come, and we welcome it.

I think one of the dilemmas for the majority must be that we have, in rather a short space of time, become very conditioned to the internal combustion engine as the pinnacle of transport engineering, and the idea of not having it or of having the choice of ownership taken away is considered a violation against the personal. Yes…it is a marvellous piece of engineering, in its time, in the same way a valve television once was. Like such televisions, the engine as we know it may well, one day, occupy a place in a museum of historical curiosities. I relish the idea of our successors looking upon such an exhibit with amusement, as a token of a time when things were less sophisticated and less advanced; and, like more enlightened thinking about now outdated and less efficient forms of transport of goods and people saw an end to certain other fuel sources’ use, so it will with regards to current modes. To give the understandable environmental concerns all the credit for re-design is to miss a point, as the perpetual enquiry inherent in technological research was always going to render much of what we know and currently use to be obsolete, given a long enough timeline.

Another bit of misdirection which the eventual eradication of diesel and petrol engines lends itself to is a kind of panic thought that we will not recognize the few vehicles we perceive will remain, when oil-burners have gone. Except, just as evolution of an organic species is a slow and long game, the technological evolution of manufactured goods is a rapid one which implements re-design to a consumer block so accustomed to upgrading with every tenth breath, with the majority of re-design being solely in function, and only a slight margin given to appearance. This is intentional, as whilst we demand improved function and application, our eyes are an early warning system, and if something looks too suddenly alien or a threat to what we understand, we’re less likely to readily engage. In the manufacture of vehicles, this has put far more not instantly recognizable hybrid cars on the road in the last decade-or-so than we would believe, and our obsession with the known aesthetic is why these cars of the future have few of the very acute angles and long sweeping arcs which our naive imagination had us drawing as children. Yes…a mid 20th century vehicle looks markedly different to a new vehicle on a forecourt, today. But, given that the engined car is, only about 130 years old, it’s a cosmetic evolution as comparatively slow as us creeping from the primordial swamp, to where we are now.

However the inevitable socio-economic evolution alters truck design, the Barnes Logistics of the future will embrace such changes, as we’re sufficiently pragmatic to understand that all evolutions have one steering principle…efficiency. Like anything evolved, the internal combustion engine is going, and it was on its way out as soon as it was formed, as there are certain engineering design compromises which lend it a certain efficiency, but nowhere near the potential of yet to be exploited sources of energy. As a company, we equally demand new efficiencies, and embrace all mechanisms which encourage such. We just eagerly await technological advances in truck design, as newer and more sustainably efficient trucks will be good…the four charging horses of Barnes Logistics on their bodywork will be better.

The Spring Budget and Logistics

Earlier this month, the Chancellor Philip Hammond presented his Spring Budget following on from the Autumn Statement in November. The Budget saw more money pledged to the education, health and social care, as well as the controversial tax rise for the self-employed which has since been reversed, but what elements of the Statement and Budget affect the world of logistics?

 

Firstly, the Autumn Statement announced another year with a freeze on Fuel Duty, which is the tax incorporated into the price paid for petrol, diesel and other fuels. A standard VAT rate of 20% is paid on Fuel Duty, but for years there have been warnings of a hike. At the Autumn Statement, Phillip Hammond stated: “Today we stand on the side of the millions of hardworking people in our country by cancelling the fuel duty rise for the seventh consecutive year.”

 

For the world of logistics, this is a great relief due to the amount of fuel needed to keep our fleets on the road for our clients and customers. As an integral part of what keeps the industry moving (no pun intended!), and with no option to hop on the bus or perhaps take the bike into work to save on fuel costs, a rise in Fuel Duty would hit the logistics industry the hardest.

 

During Phillip Hammond’s Spring Budget speech, he also announced that there would be no rise in VED for those in the haulage industry, and no rise in the HGV Road User Levy: “I am freezing for another year both the VED rates for hauliers and HGV Road User Levy.” VED – Vehicle Excise Duty, commonly known as road tax – refers to the tax payable on vehicles due to their emissions, and is based on engine size, or fuel type and level of carbon dioxide emissions.

 

Launched in 2014, the HGV Road User Levy is the charge payable by vehicles of 12 tonnes or more to contribute towards the wear and tear of the road network. The amount payable varies according to the vehicle’s weight, axle configuration and levy duration. This levy is now applicable to overseas vehicles as well, to ensure that British drivers are not having to bear the burden of wear and tear from foreign vehicles.

 

This freeze in VED for hauliers and the HGV Road User Levy is most welcome to the logistics industry, as it means that budgets do not have to be stretched to cover any additional tax costs and can therefore go directly into constantly improving the standard of service for our clients and the safety of our drivers.

 

Investing in ever greater safety and quality of service is something which we at Barnes Logistics always strive towards, and we are grateful that the Spring Budget has allowed us to continue this with frozen tax rates for the industry.

Show Your Truck Some Love

February: the month of love. But put down those flowers and chocolates because here at Barnes we think it’s time to show your truck some love! Not only will taking some time out of your day to ensure your truck’s at its best help with driving efficiency, but it will also hugely increase safety for yourself and other road users.

 

Firstly, always ensure that you have time for a walk around inspection of the vehicle – the best time to do this is just before it’s about to be driven; and is even more important when the vehicle hasn’t been driven for some time. If anything looks out of place, do not take any risks and report it.

 

Brakes are one of the most important safety measures, so check their efficiency with a brake test. Your vehicle should be loaded to ensure that a higher brake force before wheel lock can be tested (you should aim to apply at least 65% of the design axle weight on each axle), and brakes can be tested on a clean and well-gritted roller-brake tester (or RBT). The number of wheels which lock will differ from vehicle to vehicle – but remember that a locked wheel does not always mean a good brake.

 

Refresh your truck and give it an oil change – but might it be time to look at a new oil? There are so many choices out there from the commonly used E7, but consider switching to an oil which can be more fuel efficient such as E4 as E6. Even though many manufacturers have specific oil types, E6 oils meet many E4 and E7 requirements. Whichever oil you choose to use, why not take the time to check and top up or replace your oil to revitalise your HGV.

 

Finally, when was the last time you had a look at your headlights? The days may be getting very marginally brighter, but headlights are still a necessity not only for night time driving but also for driving in adverse weather conditions. But remember, when replacing a headlamp one of the most important factors is aim. Since April 2015, the Government changed that way headlamp aim is measured on MOT tests, aimed at making them more simple to understand and pass.

We hope that these top Barnes tips will persuade you to take just a little time out of your day to show your truck some love this February, and will help make your driving safer and more efficient.

 

LORRY PARKING: WISE INVESTMENT OR WASTE OF MONEY?

You may have seen ‘operation stack’ all over the news, this week with the release of the new plans for the ‘lorry park’ in the Kent area. But what will this ‘lorry park’ include? And how will it alleviate the issues we currently face?

First of all, the park is set to have 3,600 spaces for lorries and is rumoured to be roughly the same size as Disneyland, California, with Stanford West being the preferred location for build.

There seems to be a shortfall when you compare that to the 5,700 lorries that were stacked on the M20 in Kent for 30 days during disruption to Eurotunnel services last summer. We certainly hope that the government have got their estimations correct as it doesn’t take a mathematician to work out that 3,600 parking spaces will not cover 5,700 lorries, and that’s not even a worst case scenario.

Operation stack was actually created in 1996 when there was disruption with channel-crossings and has since been used intermittently over the years. The activities were co-ordinated by Kent police and highway officers by closing three junctions of the M20 in the London/Kent area, totalling enough space for 5,700 lorries.

To alleviate the likelihood of operation stack needing to make another appearance, construction work is set to begin as soon as possible; on the £250m parking facilities set to be open by next summer.

There are major concerns within the transport industry that this money could be spent more wisely across the board on prospects such as rail freight, the lower Thames crossing and the existing road network.

Let’s think about health and safety too, residents could be living only 100 metres from an emissions filled site. Surely, that’s cause for concern, too? It is felt, generally, that the government has not thought this through thoroughly and are just throwing money at the problem.

Locals in the Kent area were hoping to see the government opt for a ‘virtual queueing’ system whereby cross-Channel operators could allocate lorry drivers a place in a list for arriving at Dover or the Eurotunnel base to board ferries or trains. It would be then up to the driver whether to wait or continue to the port based on traffic/weather conditions.

Easing congestion and the emissions issue on the whole – an option that definitely seems worthy enough to explore further.

What are your thoughts? Do you think the lorry parking will make for a good investment? Or will it cause a whole host of other issues? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments!