Operation Brock to have sunset clauses removed allowing its indefinite use

Traffic passes through Operation Brock on the M20 in Ashford Credit: PA Images

Lorry traffic controls designed to prevent post-Brexit disruption around the Port of Dover are to have their "sunset clauses" removed, allowing the emergency measures to be used indefinitely.

This means that Operation Brock, which reconfigures the movement of traffic on the M20, will be able to be used after the October 31st deadline.

However, this relies on the changes being made into law once MP's return from their summer breaks.

Traffic passes through Operation Brock Credit: PA Images

The Department for Transport (DfT) said the alteration, which comes after a public consultation, would allow Operation Brock to be used for "any type of traffic disruption in the area".

It was originally introduced in Kent amid fears that the UK's departure from the EU could lead to disruption to cross-Channel trade.

Kent Access Permits were also introduced as part of the measures, requiring lorry drivers to secure a permit to access Kent.

Lorries travel through Operation Brock Credit: PA Images

Legislation for Operation Brock was first put in place in 2019 and last updated in 2020 before the end of the transition period. It was then amended again in 2021 in response to the French border being closed.

Ministers undertook a consultation in May and June to seek views on proposals to "bring Operation Brock within a sustainable long-term traffic management plan", which would involve removing the existing sunset clauses that would otherwise have meant the legislation would have expired by November.

The consultation terms said that making the change would mean Operation Brock could continue to be used "in the future as a contingency traffic management measure for disruption" - a move the department said had elicited a "positive" response.

Stripping the law of its sunset clauses will be laid before Parliament next month and will be debated in both the Commons and the Lords, officials said.

A moveable barrier system is lifted into place on a section of the M20 motorway in Kent ahead of a live test by Highways England Credit: PA Images

A Department for Transport spokesman said:

"Operation Brock measures will remain temporary and will only be used when there is a significant risk of delays.

"While Operation Brock was originally created to deal with disruption caused by EU exit and in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, removing the sunset clauses from Operation Brock will mean the Kent Resilience Forum (KRF) is better prepared to respond to any type of traffic disruption in the area, not solely related to EU exit, including strikes and severe weather."