MP’s fury over ‘no-deal’ Brexit plan to turn M26 into ‘parking lot’

12.10.2018 11:25

By Alan McGuinness, political reporter

A furious Conservative MP has demanded to know why he was not told about plans to turn a motorway in his constituency into a "parking lot" to handle the consequences of a "no-deal" Brexit.

Tom Tugendhat told the Commons that work on the M26 in Kent started on Wednesday night, even though he was given assurances that nothing was in the pipeline.

Highways England has confirmed to Sky News that as part of "wider resilience planning", the Department for Transport has asked it to "develop plans to utilise the M26 to hold heavy goods vehicles, should further capacity be required in the future".

There will be overnight closures on the motorway until Monday and in the run-up to Christmas between 19 November and 21 December while the work is carried out.

Diversions will be in place via the M25 and M20.

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A Highways England spokesman said: "We will be undertaking site surveys on the M26 during October leading to the installation of two gates in the central reservation to support the safe management of freight in the future, if needed."

There are concerns a "no-deal" scenario could result in long delays at Dover for cross-Channel traffic.

The Road Haulage Association warned in August that such an outcome would be "grim" — and would see Kent "become the UK’s biggest lorry park".

Tom Tugendhat

Rising to ask a question to Transport Secretary Chris Grayling in the Commons, Mr Tugendhat said: "It’s come to a pretty pass when a member finds out that works have begun on a motorway to turn that motorway into a parking lot without consultation either with the local community or with surrounding members.

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