The DfT has declined to confirm the contents of a document sent to transport minister Andrew Jones by Kent County Council, which reportedly calls for nearly £300m of extra funding to be put into additional infrastructure to relieve the M20 during Operation Stack.

According to The Independent, the taskforce – understood to include Kent Police, Eurotunnel and Highways England – wants £295m to provide a two-way contraflow capability on the M20 and an additional coastbound lane; and a further £8m for a new holding area to park 1,000 trucks when Operation Stack is in force.

None of the taskforce members has so far confirmed this, however, and although a DfT spokesman did acknowledge receipt of a document from the taskforce, he too declined to confirm its contents.

The taskforce’s call came just as the government revealed plans to use Manston Airport in Kent as a truck park as an “interim solution” to deal with disruption during Operation Stack.

The plan to use the north Kent site has been criticised, however, by groups including P&O Ferries, who said Manston was “fundamentally in the wrong place”; Dover District Council, who said it would involve a 50-mile diversion from the M20 for trucks; and the Port of Dover, which said it had “some concerns over the practicalities of the solution”.

Meanwhile, industry continues to suffer from the ramifications of ongoing delays to cross-Channel traffic.

Following recent claims by the food sector that stowaways in vehicles were costing it over £1m a month in spoiled loads, and further claims from the RHA that spoiled loads more generally coudl cost the UK £1bn a year, the automotive manufacturing sector has confirmed its supply chain, too, has been disrupted.

The issue is in terms of imported parts and it is keeping a close eye on the situation in northern France as many plants come back online after their regular summer shutdown.

“The automotive industry is monitoring closely the disruption to cross-channel services to and from Calais. While there are some effects on the supply of goods across the Channel, contingency plans are in place to minimise the impact on production,” a spokesman for the SMMT confirmed, adding: “A swift resolution is needed as any disruption and delay is costly to business.”

Automotive producers with UK plants spoke to including Toyota, Nissan and Vauxhall said there had been no actual effect on vehicle production so far.

Nissan admitted, however, that it was “monitoring the situation closely” from its Sunderland plant; Toyota said it had had to “cut back on some planned overtime” at its Deeside, North Wales engine plant at one point before its summer shutdown; and Vauxhall told us it had “got very close” before its shutdown to being affected in terms of the supply of engines from Renault in France to its Luton Vivaro manufacturing site.

Vauxhall has since switched to importing more goods via ports other than Calais, including Zeebrugge, its spokesman added.