Hollingbourne Parish Council has received an assurance that Junction 8 of the M20 will not be closed to local traffic after Brexit if Phase 3 of Operation Brock is reached when the coastbound side of the M20 between Hollingbourne and Ashford will be used for storing 2000 lorries awaiting Customs.
This is despite a statement on the Highways England website which reads as following:
Please go to https://highwaysengland.co.uk/OperationBrock/#under7.5 which indicates that Junction 8 will be closed if Phase 3 of Operation Brock happens and the section between Hollingbourne and Ashford is full of parked lorries awaiting Customs. Please see the following extract
Junction 8 of the M20 will be closed. Operation Brock officials will confirm you’re travelling to Eurotunnel and guide you to enter the M20 junction 8-9 goods vehicle area on the coastbound carriageway. You’ll be held at lights until space at the Eurotunnel becomes available.
As the closure could affect not just Hollingbourne, the Parish Council’s concerns were shared with local Councillors, local MP Mrs Helen Whately who was appointed Minister of the Arts, Heritage, and Tourism yesterday, and our neighbours at Leeds Castle. Their CEO, Sir David Steel has been in touch with Kent Police and the following reply has been received:
We have been in touch with Kent Police and they have confirmed that:
Junction 8 will NOT be shut in either direction but will be heavily controlled with crossing bound lorries separated out from tourist/local traffic.
It’s not quite as simple as that but access/egress will be maintained as far as possible.
There will be difficulties in the event of a no-deal BREXIT but, at least this is reassuring that the road will be kept open if at all possible.
Despite requests to the Highways England, they are yet to confirm that Junction 8 will remain open or that the statement on their website is incorrect. Previously Highways England have stated that there will be no facilities for stranded lorry drivers on the 13 mile stretch between Junction 8 in Hollingbourne and Junction 9 in Ashford.
Many of the lorry drivers will be expected to check their documentation at one of the five Customs posts that will be opened before they reach Dover or Eurotunnel. The selected sites are Ebbsfleet, Manston, Ashford Truckstop, Folkestone 24, and Dover Western Docks. Many will have queued for some time before they reach the Customs posts. Lorry drivers who arrive at Dover or Eurotunnel without the correct paperwork will be fined £300.
Pictured below is the Motorway Service Area at Junction 8 from which coastbound traffic will have to go back up the M20 to Junction 7 before passing Junction 8 again in the contraflow system on the London bound side.