Operation Stack costs revealed

A report by the Isle of Thanet News has revealed the latests costs paid to Stone Hill Park for the potential use of Manston Airport for Operation Stack.

On Monday it was revealed in a response to a Freedom of Information request that the Department for Transport paid £5,742,011 to Stone Hill Park Ltd, between August 2015 and December 2017.  This is despite the site never having been used for the intended purpose.

The deal to use Manston as a short-term solution was first suggested by Kent County Council leader Paul Carter, following a Summer of disruption in 2015 due to French strikes and growing migrant camps in Calais, with many attempts to illegally enter the UK through Dover and the Channel Tunnel.  The aim was to park lorries up at the site and so reduce pressure on the M20.

operation stack
Contractors marking the runway at Manston. © PA.

Work to prepare the site included fitting floodlighting and painting lines for parking HGVs up as well as adding toilets and shower blocks.  The toilets and shower blocks have since been removed.

The temporary legislation permitting the temporary planning permission makes it clear that the site owners are responsible for returning the site to its original state, which will include costly repairs to the runway to remove the markings.

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