Plans for a £250m lorry park to solve Operation Stack could create dangerous levels of pollution, according to a Green county councillor.
The lorry park plan came under scrutiny today as a cross-party committee of councillors discussed KCC’s views on the scheme being proposed by Highways England.
Green councillor Martin Whybrow described the plan for the site at Stanford off the M20 as “a hugely expensive carbuncle that should never see the light of day”.
He said Highways England should be monitoring air pollution levels and warned the presence of several thousand lorries raised questions about health risks to those living nearby.
“It seems to me to be an enormous knee jerk reaction by Highways England to what was a unique set of problems. This is a hugely expensive carbuncle which is in the wrong place and will blight the lives of a lot of Kent residents,” he said
“I have serious concerns about pollution because at full capacity we will have 3,600 HGVs coming and going from the site, spewing out fumes, a lot of them will be refrigerated.
“But I think the air pollution issues are just being ignored by Highways England.
“There is no current monitoring at the site to set a benchmark and in face-to-face consultations Highways England have not been able to give any reassurances about the impact on air quality.”
Meanwhile, UKIP spokesman Cllr Mike Baldock said the scheme would be of no benefit to hauliers needing somewhere to stay overnight or during the day.
He said that if the site was also used as a overnight lorry park KCC “could kiss goodbye to plans for a series of smaller lorry parks” as commercial operators would not be interested.
KCC cabinet member Matthew Balfour said: “We need this to be got on with as quickly as possible.”
He said the issue of air pollution was being taken seriously by KCC.
“Our objective is to make Highways England to pay attention to it. Martin is quite right. You can’t have a site covered with lorries with [engines] running all the time. So we need to be incredibly careful of the design to make sure people are protected from the environmental hazards of air pollution.”
He added that only a small part of the site off the M20 at Stanford had been earmarked for overnight parking.
Highways England is consulting on its plans until September 23.