Transport minister defends cost of lorry park

Press Association: Operation Stack

Transport minister Andrew Jones has defended the government’s decision to spend up to £250m on a lorry park replacement for Operation Stack, after appearing in front of the Transport Committee.

Asked this week by the select committee’s chairman Louise Ellman if developing an area the size of Disneyland for lorry parking was the best option available, Jones said it was.

“We have a significant economic asset via the Channel crossings. Last year we saw disruption – in June and July mainly – because of the perfect storm of increased holiday traffic, migrant incursions in the Channel Tunnel and industrial action in the French port. This disruption was unacceptable and we don’t want to see it again. We can’t entirely remove risk but we can put more resilience in place. This is a national issue, not just a Kent one; access to the port and tunnel and therefore the markets of Europe is a national issue.”

With the Port of Dover suggesting that last year’s shutdown of Calais and the subsequent unprecedented 26-day use of Operation Stack cost the UK economy approximately £150m a day in lost trade – and the effect to road haulage put at around £700,000 a day – Jones told the committee that it has been imperative the government acts swiftly to provide an alternative.

“It is not fair to call it a kneejerk reaction to an exceptional circumstance (CM 24 March). 10,000 HGVs go through the port and tunnel (two to one in favour of the port) each day, and both the port and Eurotunnel are predicting increases in volume in the future.

“We’re therefore putting in a long-term solution to a significant problem,” he said.

In an evidence session last month the FTA supported the new lorry park, while Eurotunnel suggested the plans amounted to a “£250m white elephant” for a problem that would not occur again.

 

Bevan promotes Shelton and Spencer

Bevan Group has promoted two employees into key roles as it looks to achieve ambitious growth targets.

 

The Halesowen-based body building specialist has appointed Roy Shelton as sales director and Claudia Spencer as the company’s first customer care manager. A former fleet engineer with BRS, Exel Logistics and DPD, Shelton joined Bevan in 2010 and initially ran its aftercare division before switching to sales.

 

Spencer joined Bevan in 2007, worked as sales co-ordinator before moving into production four years ago. Both are now responsible for selling and supporting the products and services of the entire Bevan Group.

 

Last year the business last year acquired the former Stag Bodies operation, based in Stone, Staffordshire, and formed a new division, Bevan Specialist Products, specialising in tippers and traffic management vehicles.

 

This followed the acquisitions in 2010 of PG Reeves, a manufacturer of vehicle bodies for the drinks industry, and in 2014 of Supertrucks, a builder of glass carrying transport systems.

 

Bevan has also entered strategic partnerships with crane manufacturer HMF and temperature-controlled vehicle manufacturer Schmitz Cargobull, acquired a shareholding in A&R Vehicle Services, and introduced graphics and Whole Vehicle Type Approval divisions.

 

Anthony Bevan, MD, said: “This company has grown out of all recognition over the last few years and we need a new management structure that reflects this, one that will allow us to take the business to the next level.

 

“We have embarked on a major growth strategy that will see Bevan Specialist Products move to a new production facility and double in size over the next 18 months to two years, with significant expansion also envisaged for the Supertrucks team in St Helens.”