Statement from Department of Transport about the local impact of Operation Brock.

Hollingbourne Parish Council has received the following advice from the Department of Transport about Operation Brock after Brexit when the UK is due to leave the EU Customs Union. Please Read More for further information.

“We have developed arrangements with Kent partners to manage potentially severe traffic disruption caused by lack of trader readiness for French border controls. Operation Brock begins by storing HGVs on the coastbound carriageway of part of the M20 and can also use Manston Airport and the M26. We have also developed plans for Border Readiness Checks in queues on the M20 and at Manston to identify HGVs that do not appear ready for French controls.

Border readiness checks will take place in Kent, at Manston Airport for Dover-bound HGVs and between J8 and J9 on the M20 for Eurotunnel-bound HGVs, once queues form during Operation Brock. Under current plans, hauliers with the right documentation will be given a Brock permit allowing them to go to their port of departure. Unready hauliers will be offered the option of parking at a ‘turned back’ site for up to 24 hours if they wish to try to ‘get ready’. Outside Kent, we are establishing a network of pop-up sites where hauliers can get information about what being border ready means”

At the present time the national motorway network has electric signs more or less everywhere advising hauliers to obtain the correct paperwork from 1st November or face a possible £300 fine if they get to Dover or Eurotunnel without the necessary documents. There will be documentation checking points at Ebbsfleet, Manston, Dover Western Docks, Ashford Truckstop, and Folkestone 24. Although the above statement states that that border readiness checks will be held between “J8 and J9”, Hollingbourne Parish Council has been unable to confirm the location of these. Additionally the Parish Council has no general guidance on the impact of Brexit on the village from KCC or the Government despite the fact that Hollingbourne has been the subject of several media reports about Brexit. However local MBC Councillor Patrik Garten stated at the September Parish Council meeting that house to house waste collections may be replaced by communal ones because of traffic problems although no further information is available. Other public services may also be affected while Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust are reportedly refusing to publicise their Brexit contingency plans.

After the start of Operation Brock on 21st October in preparation for Brexit on 31st October, the Junction 8 M20 access road will be closed which will mean that all coastbound vehicles from the Service Area and the A20 will have to go back up the M20 on the Operation Brock two lane contraflow system to Junction 7 before coming back down the M20 towards the coast. This may add pressure on the local road capacity especially as it is a key commuter route and could cause tailbacks for miles. Additionally any problems on the 13 mile contraflow system on the London bound side of the M20 will mean that traffic will be diverted on to the A20 causing further problems especially as there are no refuges for drivers in difficulties. The coastbound side will be used to store 2000 lories awaiting Customs for up to two days with no facilities for the stranded drivers. Presently around 15,000 lorries a day pass through the Parish of Hollingbourne.

There are presently other ongoing traffic problems on the M20 caused by the construction of Junction 10a at Ashford and smart motorway upgrade being done around Maidstone.

At the present time around one quarter of the UK’s trade in goods  passes through Hollingbourne by road or rail. Any traffic problems caused by Operation Brock could have a significant local impact on communities including Hollingbourne.

Pictured below (top) is a pinch point on the A20 in Hollingbourne where the roads and rail lines to the EU meet. (Bottom) is the Operation Brock trial run in March 2019 with no lorries being stored awaiting Customs at Eurotunnel and Dover.

The Hollingbourne to Ashford transport corridor where the M20, A20, and the CTRL converge.
The M20 looking coastbound from the Eyhorne Street bridge with the lorry storage area on the left and the contraflow system on the right.