With cross channel capacity still down by a third following the ongoing suspension of P&O services, the decision to keep Operation Brock in place means the KRF can continue to work in partnership to keep Kent moving and safely manage HGVs travelling from the UK to the continent.
Kent Resilience Forum Strategic Planning Lead, Simon Jones, said: “This decision was not taken lightly, and all partners acknowledge the impact of keeping the M20 contraflow in place has on people’s day to day journeys. But with limited capacity at the Port of Dover, with P& O’s ferries still out of service, the traffic management system will continue to help everyone on the move reach their destination as quickly and safely as possible. We thank the people of Kent, those using the M20 HGV drivers and their employers once again for their patience.”
Nicola Bell, National Highways Regional Director, said: “Operation Brock is currently working well. It’s helping us manage flows of HGVs to Eurotunnel and the Port of Dover and the M20 contraflow is open in both directions to all other traffic. Operation TAP, approaching the Port of Dover, has been in use periodically but is not delaying HGVs or other traffic.
“Keeping Operation Brock in place will allow us ramp up our response to changes in demand at either the Port of Dover and Eurotunnel. Both are reporting strong demand for freight and passenger traffic in the weeks ahead and being able to manage this safely and predictably is a key part of our thought process.”
Although the contraflow barrier can be moved overnight, the impact of closing the M20 to either remove or install the barrier is significant. If the barrier is not in place, the response to any surge or spike in HGV traffic, as seen in the weeks before Easter, would be far more disruptive than keeping the current traffic management arrangements in place. The use of Operation Brock remains under constant review and a decision will be taken no later than Tuesday May 3whether or not to keep it in place beyond that date.
Those travelling into or through Kent in the weeks ahead are reminded to check before they travel, allow more time for their journeys and make sure they have essential supplies with them, including something to eat and drink and any medicines that may be needed.
HGV drivers are reminded that when Operation Brock is in place they must use the M20, not the M2 or A2, join Operation Brock at junction 8 of the M20 and follow all signs and instructions. Failure to do so could cost significant time, money and fuel, as well as a potential fine of £300.