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moveable barriers proves to be waste of money

09 Apr 2012

The mobile barrier introduced to overcome problems caused by Operation Stack -�the method of using sections of the M20 motorway in Kent to park lorries when the English Channel, Channel Tunnel or Dover ports are blocked – is to be removed. The Highways Agency is planning to remove the Quick-change Moveable Barrier (QMB) from the M20 admitting that,�in the four years since it was introduced the traffic barriers have not proven value for money. It was originally planned that, if requested by police, the QMB would assist the implementation of phase one of Operation Stack, by allowing contra-flow arrangements to be set up speedily on the London-bound carriageway of the M20 between junctions 11 and 12. However, the traffic barriers were only used twice in four years.� The agency says the specialist equipment is leased at a cost of �627,849 a year – more than �2.5m since 2008 – when the lease expires this month the contract will not be renewed. Simon Duke, Highways Agency service manager, said: �When the QMB was installed, it was predicted that Operation Stack and the QMB would be used much more frequently than they have been. In reality, the QMB has been used on only two occasions: once during a routine Operation Stack incident and for a number of months when Operation Stack was used following the Channel Tunnel fire. “Ahead of the renewal of the lease, we have considered all the options, and decided that it is in taxpayers� best interests for the QMB to be removed.� We wish to reassure communities in Kent that we will continue to work with our partners, including Kent Police and Kent County Council, to find a long term solution to mitigate the effects of Operation Stack. Any solution must of course offer good value for taxpayers� money.� Now, to deal with the problems caused by Operation Stack, there have been renewed calls for a lorry park to be built in Kent. The process to remove the Quick Moveable Traffic Barrier is due to take place any time soon.

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