Kent Online is today reporting that Operation Brock will be launched next year as a successor to Operation Stack when the M20 is closed to allow lorries to be parked when they are delays at the Channel Tunnel and at Dover. Operation Brock will use the coast bound M20 between Junctions 8 and 9 to store as many as 3000 lorries following the introduction of new Customs procedures when we leave the EU Customs Union after Brexit. The London bound carriageway will be used for traffic in both directions between Ashford and Hollingbourne.
According to the recent newsletter issued by local MP Mrs Helen Whately and previously published on this website, work will start this year on the M20 in preparation for next year. According to the Port of Dover the Customs processing time per vehicle will increase from 2 minutes to 20 minutes following the UK’s departure from the EU Customs Union which could create major traffic issues in Kent. Just now 5000+ lorries a day cross the Channel in both directors and there is no space at Dover to hold all the lorries awaiting Customs. Similar problems are expected to arise in France.
The Kent Online report is as follows:
Traffic will be able to travel both ways on the same carriageway under new plans to tackle delays caused by Operation Stack unveiled by the government.
The new system, dubbed Operation Brock by ministers, will install a contraflow system on the northbound carriageway of the M20 between junctions 8 and 9 while lorries queue for the Port of Dover and Eurotunnel.
The system, due to come into use early next year, is expected to reduce traffic diverted onto smaller local roads by giving access to these two junctions.
Kent was crippled with disruption during the summer of 2015 when strikes in France led to Operation Stack being brought into force for 32 days.
The Department for Transport is also setting out plans to improve overnight lorry parking, so that fewer lorries will be left parked on roads and lay-bys overnight.
Roads Minister Jesse Norman said: “We’ve seen the severe disruption that people in Kent had to face in 2015 when there were hold ups across the Channel.
“This interim plan will help to minimise that disruption and mean people will be able to go about their everyday lives, seeing friends and family or going to work, as well as businesses being able to get to their customers.
Pictured below is the M20 in Hollingbourne in 2015 during Operation Stack which caused traffic problems for Hollingbourne and a lot of Kent.