Operation Brock will continue to remain in place as a precaution to manage the flow of freight traffic to the Port of Dover and Eurotunnel while cross-Channel ferry capacity remains reduced, the Kent Resilience Forum (KRF) partnership said this week.
While one P&O ferry has now returned to service, no date has been set for all P&O sailings resuming out of Dover. In the meantime, Brock controls are frequently being used to manage freight flows and the potential risk of disruption for Kent remains.
However, KRF leaders again pledged the use of the M20 traffic management scheme will remain under regular review, with the next re-assessment set for on, or around, Tuesday 10 May.
The decision to retain Operation Brock for the short-term at least means KRF partners, including National Highways, Kent Police and Kent County Council, can continue to work collectively with Dover, Eurotunnel and the freight industry to keep Kent moving and safely manage HGVs travelling to the Continent.
Kent Resilience Forum Strategic Planning Lead, Simon Jones, said: “We are very aware of the impact the M20 contraflow has on local residents and so once again I can assure everyone this decision was not taken lightly.
“But with the continuing limited ferry capacity at Dover, we need to retain the option to quickly step up the control of freight flow on cross-Channel routes and not risk leaving Kent exposed to possible significant disruption.
“My thanks to residents, businesses and drivers for their continued patience as we maintain a watching brief on the situation. We will review our traffic management options again in a week’s time.”
Nicola Bell, National Highways Regional Director, South East, said: “Keeping Brock in place ensures we can continue to quickly respond if we need to increase the control of EU-bound freight traffic on the M20 while ferry capacity at Dover remains limited.
“The contraflow barrier can be moved overnight but the impact of taking it down and putting it back in the event of any major gridlock would be more disruptive than keeping the current arrangements in place.
“Our priorities remain to help people complete their journeys and allow local communities and businesses to go about their daily business with minimal disruption. We will continue to keep the use of Operation Brock under regular review.”
While Brock remains in place for at least another week, EU freight heading for the ports must continue to use the M20, enter the coastbound carriageway at Junction 8 and follow directions.