KM reports that Operation Brock from Hollingbourne to Ashford may not be ready in time for Brexit.

Kent Online from the Kent Messenger is today reporting that the scheme to use the M20 from Junction 8 at Hollingbourne to Junction 9 at Ashford as a lorry park after Brexit on 29th March 2019 may not be ready on time. If Brexit happens the UK will leave the Customs Union and the Road Haulage Association and the Port of Dover estimate that the customs clearance time per lorry will increase from 2 minutes to over 20 which will cause a massive tailback on the M20. The Government have decided to use the M20 from Hollingbourne to Ashford as a lorry park with the London bound side being dualled and work has already started on this project which is called Operation Brock.

In 2015 there were problems at Calais and the M20 was used to store lorries for over 30 days and it was known as Operation Stack. The effect of Operation Stack included traffic problems for large parts of Kent and the concern is that the situation will return if the necessary arrangements are not in place by the time of Brexit. It is also planned to use part of the M26 between the M20 and M25 for vehicle storage. It is understood that the 13 mile section between Hollingbourne and Ashford will be lined with portable loos for the thousands of drivers who could be stuck there for some time.

 

The text of the report is as follows:

Government in race against time to implement Operation Brock on M20 ahead of Brexit

By Paul Francis
pfrancis@thekmgroup.co.uk

Published: 12:34, 14 September 2018

The government has been warned it is facing a race against time to be ready to implement Operation Brock on the M20 ahead of Brexit.
And industry experts say questions remain over plans for frictionless trade because the number of so-called trusted traders in the UK remained small.
A cross-party committee of peers examining the impact of Brexit on transport in the UK was told the government’s contingency plans to manage traffic on the M20 depended on a number of different factors coming together ahead of March 29.

Andrew Meaney, of the transport consultancy Oxera, told the inquiry: “We know where the project has got to from a Highways England perspective.
“There is a lot of operational detail that needs to be finalised between now and the end of March, let alone putting in the contra-flow infrastructure, the signage, the training of the people who are going to make all this work, and then you need a substantial information exercise for people coming in from places like Poland, and lorries going out. So there are a lot of things that need to be put in place.”

 

“This is an issue that ports in mainland Europe is concerned about.”
Alan Braithwaite, of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Freight (CILT) said the risk of congestion at Dover could be affected because relatively few UK companies were seeking “trusted trader” status.
This allows them to be fast-tracked through customs.
He told peers that the concept was integral to the Chequers deal but that the likelihood of speedier customs checks was limited in view of the number of businesses that had applied to be designated.
“At the moment, there are about 600 authorised traders in the UK and 5,000 in Germany. So, we are not ready. We are very concerned that British industry has not grasped that this is an essential precondition of frictionless trade and we have asked the DfT and other agencies to promote this.”
Mr Meaney echoed: “There are 300 lorries moving through the Port of Dover per hour per day; at the moment, nine of those are checked. If the government wants frictionless trade how many of the 2,91 HGVs are you going to check? The ports on the other side [of the channel] are equally concerned.”
Alan Braithwate said at any one time, half of the haulage traffic moving through Dover was carrying food.
“You can put this stuff [perishable food] into other ports but it is going to be more expensive for the port operators and hauliers and those costs are going to find their way into the supply chain and into consumer pockets.”
The warnings follow a claim by the boss of Jaguar Rover Ralf Speth that it faced losses of £60m a day under a hard Brexit. He said traffic jams on the approach to Dover meant that “bluntly, we will not be able to build cars”.
The DfT is expected to set out further details on its plans for Operation Brock later this year. Recently released reports suggest it could lead to a 13-mile lorry park on the M20 that could last “many years” after Brexit.
The initial wave of works on the £20 million scheme have begun with hard shoulders being reinforced to sustain hundreds of parked lorries between Ashford and Maidstone.

Pictured below are lorries parked up on the M20 at Hollingbourne during Operation Stack in 2015.

Footnote:

Anti Brexit campaigner Gina Miller was in Dover today to launch her End the Chaos website which will be an open source site for local Councils and other to publish their risk assessments of the effects of Brexit. A report on Kent Online in which she specifically refers to Operation Brock appears below.

Lawyer Gina Miller launches ‘end the chaos’ campaign in Dover

By Paul Francis
pfrancis@thekmgroup.co.uk

Published: 16:15, 14 September 2018

The lawyer and Brexit campaigner Gina Miller chose Kent to launch a campaign she says will help people understand the implications of leaving the EU.
The campaign was kick-started in Dover – a key Brexit heartland – with a website called ‘end the chaos’ central to the initiative.
Miller, who took the government to court questioning whether it had the right to trigger Article 50, said her website would be a place where anyone could place information and data about leaving the EU – a transparent platform for local councils, business and academics.

Gina Miller launched her latest Brexit campaign in Dover
That included information relating to the government plans for Operation Brock, which is being put forward as a solution to using the M20 as a lorry park, where there is disruption or delays at the Port of Dover and Eurotunnel.
“If we get information about Operation Brock we will put it on our website,” she said.

She denied that the initiative was simply an anti-Brexit movement.
She claimed he government was in a state of panic and with just weeks to go before MPs vote on any deal there were too many unanswered questions about how it would deal with the impact.
“Our politicians are failing to provide clarity or promote understanding. clarity and understanding is what will end the chaos,” she said.
People who voted to leave were having second thoughts she claimed.
“This is not what Britain deserves. This listless drift towards an unknown outcome gives no confidence to anyone,” she said.
“Help us to avoid the catastrophe of a future marred by self-inflicted wounds, squandered opportunities and unfulfilled hopes and dreams’
She told an audience in the town hall that she had chosen Dover to launch the campaign because it was stronghold for Brexiteers.