'Operation Stack' was implemented recently in January 2015 following a fire in the Channel Tunnel, and again during industrial action at the Port of Calais in June 2015. In its basic form, 'Operation Stack' is essentially traffic control with the aim of reducing severe freight congestion on the M20.
Why and when it is implemented? 'Operation Stack' has been around since 1987. It was debated in the Commons in the 80's and introduced by Thatcher's government, proving successful it has been kept by subsequent governments. It is implemented during times of extreme congestion entering the Port of Dover, and managed and by Kent Police.
How will it affect me? It will for sure. ONLY of course if it is implemented. If you are travelling down to Dover via the M20 it's normally busy on any day but if 'Stack' is on you'll find delays of getting into the port of can be approximately 10 hours from the beginning of the M20 down to Dover. Of course, 10 hours is the worst case scenario. The best advice you can follow is allow plenty of time to reach Dover if 'Operation Stack' is in operation.
Actually on average, Stack is implemented only once per quarter - this year has been more than average simply because of MyFerryLink workers striking in Calais multiple times.
Kent police are managing the current situation by issuing drivers examples of this form when exiting the stack which must be presented at check in at Port.
See more on Operation Stack at FerryNews.co.uk
Remember there are alternatives to Calais - you can go from other ports such as Immingham, Hull, Teesport, Newcastle, Harwich, and Rosyth.
More news: In July 2015 Manston Airfield was chosen as a location in which to coordinate freight traffic when M20 Operation Stack is at full capacity