Operation Stack solutions – Kent corridors

Operation Stack is a police-led operation, supported by Highways England and other regional partners, to manage congestion caused by periods of extraordinary cross-Channel disruption, such as severe weather, strikes, ferry/train faults etc.

Under Operation Stack lorries waiting for Eurotunnel or ferry services form respective queues on the M20. Non-stack traffic is diverted to the A20 that runs parallel with the M20.

Operation Stack has evolved over its 20 years of use. The current version stacks lorries on the M20 between Maidstone and Ashford in four queues or stages, two on either side of the coast-bound carriageway. Mostly Stack has only required stages 1 and 2. Stage 3 has only been used in 2015. Stage 4 has never been used.

Since August 2015, to avoid using stages 3 and 4, and hence the A20 in both directions, the government has agreed that Stack, as a short-term measure, will use Manston for Port of Dover lorries.

Lorries are released from Stack once space becomes available at the ports.

The Government and its regional partners are agreed that Operation Stack should be a last resort. Since 2015 we've been working with these partners to come up with alternatives.

The initial plans were to have a single lorry park. Proposals were brought forward for a site at Stanford West near M20 junction 11. However, in November 2017 the proposals were withdrawn. We've continued to explore a long-term solution to Operation Stack. Proposals have been discussed with the Government and we await an announcement in order to progress the preferred scheme option further.



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The M5 through the West Country is currently experiencing severe delays southbound.
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