Wildlife and Ruins Threat to M20 Truck Park

The proposed £250 million truck park on the M20 in Kent has already surmounted some significant obstacles, but could still fall foul of local wildlife, and archaeology.

And, a new semi-leash for keen Porsche drivers. British family latest victims of vehicle passport theft in Spain as road safety takes big turn for worse. Norway will not ban fossil fuelled vehicles. Truck gates to be installed on Rhine Bridge at Cologne.

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WILDLIFE AND RUINS THREAT TO M20 TRUCK PARK

Ominous obstacles ahead of massive £250 million M20 truck park.

Consultation launched on proposed M20 truck park. More later.

Looking north across the proposed M20 truck park. Picture from Highways England consultation.

New prime minster Theresa May put the brakes on the Hinckley Point nuclear power station, but one eye-wateringly expensive government project apparently gaining her approval is the proposed £250 million ‘Operation Stack’ truck park beside the M20 in Kent.

Since it was revealed by then Chancellor George Osborne in November 2015, the project has proceeded at breakneck pace.

Last week, Highways England published detailed plans for the preferred option: a facility north and south of the motorway, with space for 3600 vehicles, between the villages of Stanford and Sellinge –very close to M20 junction 11, and three miles from Eurotunnel,.

The site is surrounded by AONB Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and bordered by one SSSI Site of Special Scientific Interest, two listed buildings and several houses.

The plans are up for public consultation for the next six weeks, until 23 September 2016.

Highways England wants the truck park to open at least partially by Sumer 2017 but the consultation documents spell out at least two threats to the timetable, both of which are notorious for causing delays to big infrastructure projects.

Wildlife surveys have so far found bats, badgers, reptiles, wintering and breeding birds and water voles but the consultation document shows monitoring will drag on until next month.

Meanwhile, though archaeological surveys conducted south of the M20 during the Channel Tunnel build will not need to be repeated, the much bigger northern section is virgin territory.

Within 10 metres of the northern boundary are two listed buildings, the Grade II* listed Stanford Windmill and Grade II listed Gibbins Brook Farmhouse Shalom and geophysical surveys show possible archaeology underneath the northern portion.

Trial trenches will be dug across the site with further excavations should anything be found…

Highways England says it is still deciding how the site will operate. There will however certainly be 500 permanent overnight spaces to combat widespread illegal truck parking in Kent.

The rest of the site will only come into operation during heavy disruption to cross-Channel services, with access directly off the M20.

The permanent spaces will only be accessed via the Stop24 services south of junction 11, with a new connecting bridge to the site across the East Stour River. A second bridge will be built over the motorway to connect the two sites.

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instab control

Porsche’s new PSM Sport is not a drift mode the firm insists. Rather it’s an ‘instability system’ which recognises when the driver has the situation under control and then allows a sportier driving style, i.e. oversteer. It’s a new halfway house between nannying traction control systems and no-holds-barred all systems switched off for keen drivers. Photo Porsche Newsroom.

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roundup: SPAIN. A Nottingham family are £1000 out of pocket after thieves stole their passports and clothes from their hire car in Barcelona last week. The Thompsons from Nottingham join 400 other people who have had their travel documents stolen from vehicles so far this year says the FCO’s @BritsVisitSpain. Worse, since the passports were left in a car, they are not covered by the family’s travel insurance reports the Nottingham Post. Emergency documents – at £100 each – were issued on Tuesday but by then they had missed their booked flight home. Meanwhile, after a particularly deadly bank holiday weekend, Spanish roads deaths are up by almost 9.4 percent so far this year according to The Spain Report. Fatalities have jumped from 664 in the same period last year to 727 this year, including 17 deaths at the weekend. The head of the roads agency DGT was recently outed in an alleged corruption scandal while Spain has anyway struggled recently to build on spectacular progress on road safety in the past decade. NORWAY. It has become an article of faith recently that Norway is preparing to ban fossil fuelled vehicles, despite the lack of official announcements. Now the government has set the record straight says Reuters following fresh reports in the German media. ‘This government wants to encourage more environmentally friendly vehicles by using the carrot instead of a stick,’ a spokesman told the news agency adding that new technology would see conventional fuels phased out naturally rather than as the result of a ban. GERMANY. The damaged Rhine Bridge on the A1 at Leverkusen near Cologne is to have a truck gate fitted next month. The ageing bridge has been closed to trucks 3.5t+ for some time while a new crossing is under construction – but 150 still use it illegally each days says Transport-Online.de. The new system comprises of a weighing device and an automatic lock, similar to the ones also in use at the Schierstein Bridge on the A66 in Wiesbaden and on the A6 in the Saarland. It should be in place by the end of September or early October.

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