Agenda item

Questions from Members of the Council to the Chairmen of Committees


Question to the Chairman of the Policy and Resources Committee


Councillor T Sams asked the following question of the Chairman of the Policy and Resources Committee:


On behalf of our residents, given the social and economic impact that Operation Stack has on our community, the M20 a lorry park and the A20 often at a standstill, with the chaos this causes, can this Council demonstrate ways in which we can encourage all agencies to work together to alleviate what is an ever worsening and more frequent problem?


The Chairman of the Policy and Resources Committee replied that:


I would like to thank Councillor Sams for a very pertinent and very apt question as Stack is once again in operation.  I have a huge sense of déjà vu as seven years ago, when I was last Leader of the Council, we were talking about this problem, and little seems to have changed in the interim other than the numbers of HGVs held on our roads which, I am informed, have gone through the roof since the economy started to improve.


One of the issues which needs tackling is the current disconnect between Dover’s traffic access protocol and Operation Stack.  It is my personal view that Dover Town, Dover Port and the Stack need to find a more efficient way to relate to each other, and I will raise that with Kent Leaders.


This, however, does not resolve the issues Harrietsham and Lenham face or, indeed, the adverse impact upon all of our northern communities and the town centre itself.  Our economy is suffering, our people are suffering.  It is a ridiculous situation.


However, to answer your specific question, I believe the most important thing we can do currently for the Ward you represent is for Maidstone Borough Council to corporately push Kent County Council and other authorities to provide the road safety measures on the A20 which, I believe, have been agreed in principle, and now need to be implemented as a matter of urgency.


Councillor T Sams asked the following supplementary question of the Chairman of the Policy and Resources Committee:


I am concerned as to the safety of all people associated with this; pedestrians, cyclists, car and lorry drivers, with lorries parked in often precarious parts on and off the highway and others forced into often questionable manoeuvres around them.  How will we work on joint strategies with other agencies to reduce risk?


The Chairman of the Policy and Resources Committee replied that:


I absolutely agree that this is a dire situation.  I believe that the only way forward is for Maidstone Borough Councilto work closelywith the Police and other agencies to see what can be done to improve the monitoring of the system when it is in place; not least, we need to watch the welfare of the lorry drivers themselves.  I come back to the point that we need the safety measures in place on the A20 so that people can at least cross the road safely and we need to see what we can do to monitor the situation on a day to day basis.  I will respond further to Councillor Sams when I have more information.