Operation stack called into question

VILLAGERS are seeking a meeting with police chiefs to discuss the way queues of lorries are handled when Britain's biggest port is closed because of strong winds.

VILLAGERS are seeking a meeting with police chiefs to discuss the way queues of lorries are handled when Britain's biggest port is closed because of strong winds.

During the gales last month, high-rise quayside cranes at Felixstowe port could not operate and the container terminal was closed for lengthy periods, leading to hundreds of trucks having to be parked on the A14 and industrial estates around the edge of the port area.

When the port re-opened, some 500 trucks emerged on to the dual carriageway, causing gridlock - with thousands of cars having to be diverted through the twin Trimley villages and Walton to reach Felixstowe.

Parish councillors at Trimley St Martin are concerned over how Operation Stack - the procedure for handling the queuing lorries - is working and whether it needs changes.

Meanwhile, there is growing concern new traffic lights outside Anzani House, in Trinity Avenue, are adding to the problems - and there are now tailbacks onto the A14 Port of Felixstowe Road even when the port is open.

Chairman John Barker said Felixstowe police commander inspector Steve Gallant would be invited to a parish council meeting to discuss the situation.

Most Read

“We seem to be seeing the port closed more often and with the changing weather conditions and global warming it could happen even more frequently in the future,” said Mr Barker.

“Our concern is at what point Operation Stack is put into action.

“Part of the operation is to only queue lorries in the outside lane so the inside lane can be used for people going to the villages, Felixstowe or port, and also to send the lorries to wait on the old Felixstowe road but that doesn't seem to happen as quickly as it might sometimes.

“The port does bring prosperity to our area with all the employment and it is hugely important to our futures, but it must not be allowed to impinge in an unreasonable way on the life of the villages.

“When the traffic is all sent through the villages like that it is a nightmare.”

Bosses at Felixstowe port have apologised to the community for the inconvenience caused by the closures and have been liaising with the police over the traffic problems.

WEBLINK: www.trimley-st-martin.org.uk

What do you think of the recent traffic congestion caused by the closure of Felixstowe port? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter