Operation Brock to start permanently on Trafalgar Day!

Operation Brock will start permanently on 21st October which is Trafalgar Day which will be the 114th anniversary of the Royal Navy’s victory under Admiral Nelson over the French and Spanish fleets in 1805. This will be some 10 days from before the planned day of Brexit on 31st October. The coastbound access from Junction 8 of the M20 will be closed to allow up to 2000 lorries to be stored awaiting Customs at Eurotunnel and Dover on the 13 mile section of the motorway between Hollingbourne and Ashford. The London bound side has already been converted into a contraflow arrangement with a barrier for non lorry traffic to the ports. 

The contraflow system has a 50mph speed limit and there are no refuges and accidents were frequent when the system was tested earlier this year. There are no facilities for stranded lorry drivers on the coastbound side. Altogether Operation Brock can store up to 12,000 vehicles which is about one and half times of the number that cross from England to France each day at present. Operation Brock is needed because the UK will leave the EU Customs Union and the Customs Transit time per vehicle will increase from a minute or two to 20 minutes or much more which will cause delays.

According to Highways England Operation Brock, which relates to lorries only, will be in four Phases as follows:

Phase 1 – In the event of excessive disruption to services across the English Channel, improved holding capacity in the Port of Dover and Eurotunnel, as well as on the A20 approach to the port (Dover TAP), would be used.

Phase 2 – If phase 1 capacity is reached, we will start queuing Europe bound lorries that are 7.5 tonnes and over on the coast bound section of the M20 between junction 8 and 9 with cars and other vehicles using a contraflow on the London-bound carriageway.

Phase 3 – If phase 2 becomes full, lorries heading for Port of Dover will be directed to Manston Airfield, while the M20 is used to hold traffic for Eurotunnel. Traffic lights on the A256 after Manston Airfield will help to manage traffic arriving at the port.

Phase 4 – If the M20 holding area and Manston becomes full, the M26 could be used to hold additional lorries heading for Eurotunnel.

Full details about Operation Brock are on the Highways England website at https://highwaysengland.co.uk/OperationBrock/#under7.5

An Operation Brock Map appears below. 

Operation Brock Map.

According to the Highways England website , Junction 8 may be closed to traffic if Phase 3 is reached when the M20 between Hollingbourne and Ashford is full of lorries. However local Police sources indicate that they will make the best endeavours to keep local traffic moving. Junction 8 is a key access point for the east of Maidstone, villages along the A20, the North Downs, Leeds Castle, and much of the Weald where hundreds of new houses for commuters have been built with thousands more planned including a reported 5000 at Lenham Heath. Most of these house owners will rely on motorway access at Junction 8.