Councillors in Kent have raised concerns over the UK Government’s plan to use a former airport as a lorry park for up to 4,000 trucks when the Brexit transition period ends on January 1st.
Manson Airport, which closed in May 2014, is one of the sites subject to an Operation Fennel special development order that would see the area used as a lorry park until June 2021. It said that HGVs may be held up in the makeshift lorry park for as long as 48 hours.
According to reports in Kent Online, councillors are concerned that HGV traffic moving in and out of the site could obstruct ambulances heading to Margate’s QEQM hospital. There are also fears of a coronavirus outbreak at the site due to the number of drivers that would mix in the area. That would in turn place severe stress on the aforementioned hospital, which is already dealing with a relatively high number of covid patients.
Local councillor Rick Everitt said he hoped the coronavirus situation in Kent will have alleviated somewhat by January 1st, but is worried about the knock-on-effect of an outbreak at the lorry park:
„Hopefully by the time we get to January that situation will have alleviated to some extent, but we don’t know that and what we can’t have is a Covid outbreak at the airport among lorry drivers impacting on the health service provision for our residents.”
Councillor Paul Moore also expressed his worry over the possibility of the virus spreading at the lorry park:
„The people who have laid out the parking facilities at Manston have put the vehicles too close together, and should there be an incident in one HGV, there’s a potential for it to spread rapidly to the adjoining lorries.”
In addition, Moore added that he was concerned that the lanes for emergency vehicles at the lorry park aren’t wide enough and that there isn’t enough room for them to turn safely.
Last week, in the limited version of its online haulier guidebook, the UK Government revealed how the lorry parks would operate. You can read more on that here.
Photo credit: James Stewart / Wikimedia Commons (imaged cropped)