The Secretary of State for Transport and Highways England have pulled plans to build a lorry parking area for around 3,600 lorries at Stanford West in Kent after the proposed scheme was subject to a judicial review challenge brought by G Forge Limited and supported by Stanford Parish Council in late 2016. The challenge was brought on EIA grounds and, in part, alleged that the absence of a domestic statutory requirement for EIA in relation to permission granted under the GPDO for the exercise of statutory functions under the Highways Act 1980 by the Secretary of State (either for parking and/or a motorway service area for trucks) did not provide the Secretary of State with a means of avoiding the requirement for EIA.
Upon withdrawing the Secretary of State’s decision to proceed, Highways England stated that it would be reviewing the scope, scale and location of its solutions to Operation Stack, taking into account changes since the original concept of the lorry park was promoted, and including a full EIA. Alongside this, Highways England indicated that it would be developing an interim solution that would allow non-port traffic to continue to travel in either direction on the M20.
The withdrawal of the decision to proceed, which represents a significant victory for the Claimant and Parish Council, was embodied in Chris Grayling MP’s written statement to Parliament dated 15 November 2017, which can be accessed via the following link:
The desire for an “interim solution” appears to be the driver behind making of the Town and Country Planning (Operation Stack) Special Development (Amendment) Order 2017 on 22 November 2017, which provides for the holding of goods vehicles at Manston Airfield via the rarely used power to grant planning permission in relation to specific sites under a Special Development Order (sections 59 and 60 of the TCPA 1990).
News coverage of the decision and proposal can be accessed via the following links:
Jonathan Darby was instructed by Paul Thompson of Temple Bright LLP on behalf of Stanford Parish Council