Kent truckstop freight traffic plan hindered as Ashford scales down its role

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A plan to redirect lorries from Operation Brock on the M20 to truckstops in Kent has been hampered after the largest truckstop in the region announced it would be taking part on a smaller scale than had been planned.

Kent truckstop freight traffic plan hindered as Ashford scales down its role
Photo © Copyright Steve Fareham (illustrative image)

As we reported yesterday, Ashford International Truckstop had announced on social media that it would not be taking bookings on some days, including this weekend.

The truckstop explained this was due to it taking part in a government scheme to redirect lorries waiting in the Operation Brock queue. However, it has now rowed back on its decision to some extent, reducing its role in the scheme to keep reservations open.

In a Facebook post that has since been deleted, Ashford International Truckstop wrote:

“Due to the situation during the Easter period where Operation Brock was deployed to help deal with the volumes of trucks in Kent, it has been decided to hold HGVs in truck parks in the south during the school holidays instead of on the roads, giving you a better place to rest.”

Reacting to criticism from a driver, who said the move was just a means of keeping roads clear for holidaymakers, Ashford International Truckstop’s Facebook admin later confirmed that other truckstops in the area would be doing similar, and that the measure comes from the government:

“AIT [Ashford International Truckstop] are committed to helping all its customers, this is a decision made by the government to help drivers have better facilities and not stuck by the roadside. Your parking, food and drink will be supplied free of charge. All truckstops throughout Kent are involved in this exercise not only AIT. This is a positive move to help you guys.”

However, the plan now appears to have been severely impacted as Ashford International Truckstop has decided to reduce its involvement.

Writing on Facebook this morning, the truckstop’s Operations Director, Darren Smith, said the decision was made following feedback from its customers:

Dear Customers,

Update on Op Broc/ Holiday closure.

We have decided after listening to our customers frustrations, even though we believed we were doing a good deed helping drivers off the motorway and into a secure park, to reopen our doors.

The reservation system is once again live and we are open for business.

We will still be taking part in this exercise as it will help the drivers, but just on a smaller scale.

We hope this hasn’t caused you too much stress and also shows you our commitment to you our customers.

All the best,

Darren Smith
Operations Director AIT

Given Ashford International Truckstop’s huge capacity and its practical location just off the M20, it would likely have been central the government’s plan. Therefore, if it is to take part “on a smaller scale”, the effectiveness of the plan will be negated.

At the time of writing, neither Kent County Council or the Kent Resilience Forum have made any reference to the scheme Ashford International Truckstop is taking part in. Trans.INFO has also reached out to Kent Police regarding the plan, but as of yet we have not received a response.

Photo © Copyright Steve Fareham and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence (illustrative image)

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