Highways England have no plans to cancel Operation Brock despite Brexit delay.

At 7.30am this morning Operation Brock on the M20 was triggered in anticipation of the UK leaving the EU Customs Union at 11pm on Thursday 31st October. Since then the EU have offered the UK another Brexit extension to 31st January 2020 or some other previous date which is yet to be agreed. If the UK had left the EU on Thursday night under the terms of the present Brexit “deal”, then a transition period would have started with the UK leaving the EU Customs Union on 31st December 2020. Operation Brock is necessary to store thousands of lorries awaiting Customs at Dover and Folkestone when and if the UK leaves the EU Customs Union.

Since this morning when the contraflow system was opened on the London bound side a number of local residents have complained about delays to their journeys and would like Operation Brock lifted completely. The matter has been raised with local MP Mrs Helen Whately who can be contacted at helen.whately.mp@parliament.uk

Highways England have issued the following statement.

We are in constant contact with our partners and we do not want to have Brock in place any longer than it is needed and will be reviewing. When any decision is taken, it will need to be done when it causes less disruption. But we do know how sensitive the issue of the M20 is.”
In a statement, it said: “We are keeping the deployment of Operation Brock continually under review and are ready to stand it down if it will not be needed. Any decision to de-activate Operation Brock will be taken jointly, and we are in constant contact with the Government and our partners in Kent.”
The implementation of the restrictions takes around 48 hours preparation and involves complex arrangements to cone off sections of the motorway to create the contraflow.

Although local residents were originally told that the implementation and removal of Operation Brock with some 7500 traffic cones could be done in hours this does not seem to be the case. Tens of thousands of people will be at Leeds Castle this weekend for their Fireworks Displays and this should be a test for the traffic flow around Junction 8 of the M20 where Operation Brock starts.

Although it seems unlikely that the Government will cancel Brexit by revoking Article 50, this seems to be the only solution to the traffic problems caused by Operation Brock.

Pictured below is the M20 yesterday before the implementation of Operation Brock.

M20 in Hollingbourne on 27th October 2019.