“Virtual queuing” may be the answer to Operation Brock on the M20 after Brexit. – UPDATED.

The Government has indicated that it wishes to use the M20 between Junction 8 in Hollingbourne and Junction 9 in Ashford to store thousands of lorries awaiting customs clearance at Dover and Eurotunnel if the UK leaves the Customs Union and Single Market after Brexit. The present London bound carriageway is being divided into two with two lanes including the hard shoulder carrying traffic in both directions. In the places where work has already started there have been frequent accidents because of the narrowness of the carriageways.

Faversham and Mid Kent MP Mrs Helen Whately has long been aware of the concerns of local residents about Operation Brock and in particular about the traffic impact on local roads. Operation Stack in 2015, when the M20 was closed for over 30 days because of problems in Calais, resulted in traffic jams locally and elsewhere in Kent. This had a serious impact on many local businesses.

Mrs Whately has also been asked to investigate whether local residents and businesses who may be affected can claim compensation under the terms of the Land Compensation Act 1973 as Operation Brock is a “public work” in the same way that they were able to when the M20 and the Channel Tunnel Rail Link (HS1) were built.

She has taken the matter up with Mr Jesse Norman, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport, and a Mr Muhammed Abdul has written a reply on his behalf dated 3rd October which has just been received. In the reply a further public consultation this Autumn is promised and it is suggested that “virtual queuing” may be a solution to Operation Brock. However there is no explanation of what “virtual queuing” is or how it would work.

UPDATE as of 26th November : Kent Online has a report on the impact on local traffic after Brexit if Operation Brock becomes a reality. Please see https://www.kentonline.co.uk/kent/news/brexit-report-predicts-10-000-hgvs-on-roads-194085/

Mr Abdul’s letter is reproduced below (top) and (below) lorries in Operation Stack in 2015 not being “virtually queued”.

Operation Stack on the M20 in 2015 which ran for over 30 days because of delays at Calais.