Dover District Council is welcoming news that Government has ordered an urgent review of the resilience of the road network in East Kent to cope with periods of severe congestion at Eurotunnel and the Channel Ports.
The news follows a meeting yesterday between East Kent MPs and the Roads Minister, John Hayes MP amidst on-going traffic problems caused as a result of reduced capacity at the Channel Tunnel following a fire on Saturday (17 January 2015). Whilst praising the efforts of the Port of Dover and the ferry operators in handling a dramatic increase in traffic, the Leader of Dover District Council has lamented the lack of resilience to cope with such demand.
Cllr Paul Watkins, Leader of Dover District Council, said: "It is unacceptable that communities in East Kent are expected to bear the burden of what is a national issue. The UK economy relies on Dover and the Channel Tunnel to keep the nation's trade moving. Yet time after time we are left isolated and cut off by the lack of resilience in the road network and a lack of investment to support the nation's premier roll-on/roll-off port.
"We're calling on the Government to take action to develop a strategy on cross-Channel freight transport resilience so that the police and highway authorities have the resources to manage the situation more proactively.
"Dover is as important to the national economy as Heathrow Airport. If Dover's not working, the nation isn't."
Cllr Nigel Collor, DDC Portfolio Holder for Access, said: "It's frustrating that local communities in Dover, Shepway and Ashford are being left to cope with this situation. It is impacting businesses, tourists and local residents alike. We share their frustration and support the widespread calls for a more proactive response from the Government. We're doing as much as we can to alert the police and highways authorities to bottlenecks in the town, but it's evident that a long-term solution to deal with the issue is needed."