“Compensation must be considered for UK hauliers caught up in Operation Stack,” is the message from the Freight Transport Association (FTA) today.

Ahead of the meeting between UK and French ministers in Calais today (Thursday 20 August) FTA has requested that suitable compensation be considered by the French Government and awarded to UK freight operators affected by Operation Stack this summer – to help cover their losses.

According to FTA, the cost to UK hauliers whose vehicles were stuck on the M20 in Kent was over £21 million during the 28 days that Operation Stack was implemented between 23 June and 2 August 2015. The estimated cost does not include loss of business, spoilt cargoes, missed export deadlines or the percentage of journeys diverted during Operation Stack which are all additional costs to freight operators.

James Hookham, FTA’s Deputy Chief Executive, said: “FTA is calling on the French Government to consider compensation for UK freight operators to help recover some of their losses this summer due to Operation Stack. The weeks of chaos on the roads in Kent were unacceptable and we need a long-term solution to Operation Stack – this situation cannot be allowed to happen again. As the industrial dispute with the MyFerryLink workers has not been resolved, there is every likelihood that we could see a repeat performance before the summer is out.”

Operation Stack is when lorries are parked on the M20 during cross-Channel disruption, and has been used in recent weeks largely because of French industrial action and the threat of migrants gaining access to the Channel Tunnel.

Lorry drivers, freight operators, local businesses and residents were all affected during the numerous occasions that Operation Stack was implemented, covering 35 miles of the Kent motorway where around 6,000 trucks were stuck for many hours each day. During this time FTA estimated that the crisis was costing the UK freight industry £750,000 a day, as trucks were stopped on closed sections of the major route used to access Eurotunnel and the Port of Dover.

James Hookham added: “FTA has calculated that the UK lorries queued during Operation Stack accounted for only 15 per cent of all HGVs affected and therefore the wider costs to hauliers across Europe are significantly higher. So the French Government should accept that they are liable not only for the cost to British hauliers, but to all others involved.”

Home Secretary Theresa May and French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve are due to meet in Calais today to agree a new deal to tackle the migrant crisis there, and to consider more security around the site where thousands of migrants are currently camped.