Better roads to keep Kent moving

Traffic on some of our roads - particularly at Brenley Corner - is out of control. With 1000s of new houses being built it will only get worse. The consequences of inadequate infrastructure were powerfully demonstrated in Summer 2015 when Operation Stack caused total chaos. That's why I'm campaigning for improvements to Kent's roads.

My aims

  • Tackle traffic at Brenley Corner    
  • Stop the closure of the M20 under Operation Stack
  • Upgrade Kent's roads with investment from central Government

 

Background

Traffic isn't just annoying, it's holding Kent back. Our economy can't grow unless our infrastructure is up-to-scratch. 

The Government is investing £15.2 billion in roads over the next five years, and I want to make sure Kent gets its fair share. In particular I want to see improvements to the roundabout Brenley Corner, which has been left almost completely unchanged since it was built more than 50 years ago.

With 1000s of new houses planned for our area, pressure on the road network is only going to increase. It's vital that infrastructure keeps pace with development. Given that the vast majority of UK freight passes through Kent, this is a national problem not just a local one.

That was powerfully demonstrated in summer of 2015, when Kent ground to a halt as a result of Operation Stack. For 32 days 5,000 Lorries were parked on the M20 because of disruption in Calais. This caused chaos and misery for my constituents.

Journeys that usually took 5 or 10 minutes took hours, people couldn’t get to work or to important appointments, operations were delayed because hospital staff couldn’t get to work, teachers struggled to get to school and businesses couldn’t transport their goods. One ten-year-old girl had to wait an hour and a half for an ambulance after falling off a climbing frame.

Operation Stack is used by the police to manage freight traffic when there are delays crossing the channel. It involves closing the M20 between Junctions 8 and 9, sometimes for several days, and queuing thousands of lorries.

This problem is only going to get worse as the economy grows and freight traffic increases. So Operation Stack is not sustainable; we need a long-term solution.

That means finding off-road areas for lorries to park and improving Kent’s road infrastructure so it’s better able to cope with disruptions. This includes upgrading the M20, M2 and A2.

I’m making sure this stays at the top of the Government’s agenda. My number one priority is keeping Kent moving.

News

Have we finally seen the back of Operation Stack?

We had a reminder of how bad Operation Stack could be when high winds caused problems at the ports a few weeks ago. That should be the last time we have to put up with the closure of the motorway, as Operation Stack has now been replaced by Operation Brock. 

We can’t go back to Operation Stack

We thought we’d seen the back of Operation Stack, but Kent once again ground to a halt last week – this time because of bad weather. It was a grim reminder of 2015, with short journeys taking hours, children unable to get to school and businesses losing money.

Finish roadworks earlier to prevent traffic horrorshow

We know from experience how bad it can be when the M20 shuts down all night. Back in November there was a week of dreadful delays caused by overnight closures – with children missing lessons and businesses losing money from late deliveries and people not getting to work on time.

A2 crossing chaos at Abbey school must end

I visited Abbey School at going-home time and it was quite clear that the bridge over the A2 is inadequate. Hundreds of children all need to cross the road at the same time and the bridge is too narrow. Quite apart from the fact that it’s impossible for anyone who can’t manage steps.

How to fix Operation Stack?

It is unacceptable for Kent’s roads to be paralysed, so I am pleased that Highways England are exploring alternatives to Operation Stack. I wrote to Highways England saying that any solution to Operation Stack – whether on-road or off-road – must allow the free flow of traffic without delays.