We are all looking forward to our summer holidays at this time of year and with France, Spain and Portugal being more popular than ever the ports across the south of the country are under more strain than ever. None more so than Calais, which is having to deal with the pressure of increasing amounts of tourists as well as the serious issues of immigrants forcing their way through to the UK illegally. With all these issues very much at the forefront of British travellers’ minds, we decided to explore more about Operation Stack and what it means for you as well as the rest of the country.
Operation Stack was initially introduced in 1988 and is implemented by Kent Police and the Port of Dover when the channel crossings suffer an increased level of disruption, so whether it’s the tunnel or the ferry crossing, Operation Stack could be implemented.
The idea behind Operation Stack is to shut part of the coast-bound side of the M20 and ‘stacking’ lorries alongside it. The motorway is closed in four separate phases which then create 3000 parking spaces for freight vehicles to base themselves whilst cars amongst other vehicles are diverted on to either the A20 or the A2. However, neither road is suitably equipped to deal with the sheer amount of traffic caused by the disruptions and this can result in huge delays for commuters.
Operation Stack had usually been caused by bad weather conditions, tunnel disruptions such as derailments or fires and striking by stuff. However, with the recent situation at Calais we have seen the system in operation for 24 days out of 40 since June 20th 2015.
The operation is not only expensive to police but also for the companies suffering from lost deliveries. It is estimated that the closing of the M20 for the first three weeks in July cost haulage companies £700,000 whilst the UK economy as a whole suffered by almost £250million,
The best advice we can offer is plan your holiday in advance and avoid the area when possible but for all essential travel, leave early and expect some delays. Happy holidays!