What is Operation Stack?

What is Operation Stack?
Operation Stack is a procedure implemented by Kent Police to close the M20 and use it as a HGV park to park or "stack" lorries when there is a delay of cross channel ferries.

The operation is typically implemented when bad weather, industrial action or in more recent times anti-migrant-camp protests have caused services across the English Channel through the Channel Tunnel or Dover to be disrupted.

According to Kent News there are officially only 550 parking spaces for HGVs in the county, meaning that if access to cross-channel services is restricted, congestion would quickly spread across the county, creating an imperative need ot have a solution of where to park the lorries trying to access Dover.

The solution is far from ideal but the government has begun works to build a huge 3,600-space lorry park to help ease traffic chaos on the roads when services across the Channel are hit by delays or cancellations, at Stanford West in Kent

The M20 is the maian road that connects the M25 and the Port of Dover, however, if Operation Stack is implemented and this road is closed there are alternative routes for those travelling in the area. 

Alternative Routes

Due to the prolonged period of Operation Stack, and the new exit-checks, many of the available routes will get busy so it is worth using the RAC Route Planner to check the traffic.

  • The M2 offers an alternate route to Dover from the M25
  • Those travelling to Folkestone should use the A259 from Dover
  • Another route is via the M26, progressing to the A20 towards Maidstone, connecting to the A249 to join the M2 at junction 5
  • The A20 is another available option from junction 8/9 of the M20

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Contact numbers and delays checker

Port of Dover Twitter can advise on estimated delay times

Eurotunnel Twitter feed

P&O Ferries Twitter feed

Kent Police Twitter feed

P&O Ferries contact number: +44 (0) 8716 64 64 64, and for freight on +44 (0) 1304 863 340

DFDS Seaways contact number: call +44 (0) 208 127 8303 for tourists, and for freight +44 (0) 871 230 0440

RAC Breakdown: 0333 2000 999 (mobile friendly)

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