The M20 will be contraflowed as a temporary solution to Operation Stack, to allow traffic to travel in both directions between junctions 8 and 9 when HGVs are being queued, according to the government.

The announcement has been welcomed by the industry as an “obvious solution” and a compromise for operators concerned about managing queues during cross-Channel disruption.

Roads minister Jesse Norman said the northbound stretch of the motorway would be contraflowed and available for use in early 2019.

He also said that the DfT is setting out plans to improve overnight parking, so that fewer lorries will be left on local roads or in lay-bys.

“We’ve seen the severe disruption that people in Kent had to face in 2015 when there were hold ups across the Channel,” he said.

“This interim plan will help to minimise that disruption and mean people will be able to go about their everyday lives, seeing friends and family or going to work, as well as businesses being able to get to their customers.”

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The FTA said it was vital for the logistics industry, as well as for Kent, that traffic can continue to flow freely: “FTA’s members will be keen to see that the plan has been carefully thought through, to ensure the safety of the drivers using Stack and of others on these roads at those times.

"We look forward to working with government to ensure that appropriate facilities are provided for those needing to wait on the motorway."

Aylesford-based Castledene Transport has previously questioned why the M20 could not have a contraflow.

Matt Clarke, Castledene’s transport manager, said: “It’s the obvious thing.  I think Kent police use less resources staffing a contraflow than policing Op Stack.

"Also, they’re building a new junction 10a and the stretch between 3 and 5 is being upgraded to Smart motorway status, meaning two years of roadworks. I couldn’t see how they were going to do a lorry park at the same time.”

A public consultation into a permanent solution will launch shortly.

Image: PA Images