To consider and endorse, or make recommendations to the Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport on the proposed decision to approve the draft content of the Freight Action Plan for Kent and permit this to be released for public consultation
Andrew Westwood (Traffic Manager) and Sam Yates (Transport Planner) were in attendance for this item
(1) Mr Balfour (Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport) introduced the report which included a draft Freight Action Plan designed to mitigate the negative impacts of road freight in Kent. Mr Balfour said that this draft was subject to an eight-week public consultation and the Cabinet Committee would have another opportunity to comment before a final decision to adopt the plan was taken.
(2) Mr Balfour said it was important to provide safe, secure and serviced parking for HGV and their drivers and that KCC had participated in round table discussions with the Department of Transport. He said that both Helen Whately (MP for Faversham and Mid Kent) and John Hayes (Minister of State at the Department of Transport) had been supportive of KCC’s efforts to find a solution to unofficial lorry parking. Mr Balfour also said that the proposed lorry park at Stanford was currently subject to judicial review.
(3) Mr Westwood said that road freight in the county had increased by 84% over the last 20 years, just under 11,000 HGVs crossed the Strait of Dover each day and the road freight industry was worth £74 billion to the UK economy. He outlined some of the successes of the previous Freight Action Plan and the key actions proposed to mitigate the negative impacts of road freight to the county. He also said that there would be some minor changes to the photographs in the final consultation draft compared with the draft currently being considered.
(4) In response to a question, he confirmed that the Freight Action Plan was subservient to the Local Transport Plan 4 and the results of both public consultations would be taken into account.
(5) In response to a further question relating to Operation Stack and the Dover Traffic Assessment Project, Mr Balfour it was important to continue to lobby Highways England to put appropriate signage and variable speed limits with the Dover TAP to minimise disruption to residents when Operation Stack was put in place.
(6) Mr Balfour said that KCC supported Thanet District Council’s efforts to regenerate Ramsgate, however it was not possible for force operators to use Ramsgate or other ports in the county.
(7) Mrs Cooper said that signage for Operation Stack was checked whenever the authority was advised that there might be an issue resulting in congestion.
(8) Resolved that the proposed decision to approve the draft content of the Freight Action Plan for Kent and release it for public consultation be endorsed.