Summer getaway: Operation Brock to return to M20 on Sunday

Lorries queued in Operation Brock on the M20 near Ashford in Kent Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Measures to reduce post-Brexit traffic disruption in Kent will be reinstated on Sunday ahead of the summer getaway.

Kent Resilience Forum (KRF), a partnership of local organisations and agencies, announced that Operation Brock will return to the M20.

The scheme involves a barrier being used to create a contraflow between Junctions 8 and 9.

It enables vehicles heading to the Port of Dover or Eurotunnel terminal at Folkestone to queue on the motorway during busy periods, while other traffic can keep moving in both directions.

Lorries heading to the Continent are legally required to follow signed routes when Brock is live.

KRF strategic planning lead Simon Jones said: “Port of Dover and Eurotunnel are both reporting high booking numbers through July and August, with an increase in tourist traffic from Friday July 15, and Friday 22 to Sunday July 24 set to be particularly busy as tens of thousands of families head to Europe during the school holiday season.

“Combined with routine freight and local traffic, plus tourists travelling to our own great beaches and visitor attractions, we know Kent’s roads will be heavily used.

“KRF partners have agreed to implement Brock to ensure that if we need to step up managing EU-bound freight to protect local communities, keep Kent and goods moving as smoothly as possible and give people the opportunity to reach their destination quickly and safely over this period, we can quickly do so.”

The operation allows lorries to queue while other traffic can still get through Credit: ITV News Meridian

National Highways regional director Nicola Bell said: “Along with our Kent Resilience Forum partners, we believe Operation Brock to be the best way to allow the local communities and businesses to go about their daily business with minimal disruption.

“We’ve seen in the past how the moveable barrier on the M20 works well, enabling the steady flow of freight into Eurotunnel and the Port of Dover while ensuring motorists can get to where they need to, whatever the circumstances.

“We are committed to keeping the deployment of the barrier under constant review and removing it as soon as possible.

“Meanwhile, I would like to thank everyone for their patience during this time and urge hauliers to follow the signs on the M20 and stick to the official route.”

National Highways’ work to relocate the barrier permanently to the central reservation will be suspended.

The barrier was first deployed in December 2020 and has been used intermittently since then.

Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said: “While Operation Brock might offer the best available temporary fix to help Kent cope with the traffic pressures of the summer getaway, surely there comes a time when what’s needed is a long-term solution?

“It doesn’t look like our desire to enjoy a summer getaway is going to go away anytime soon, and that means the challenge of coping with Kent’s seasonal port traffic warrants some fresh creative thinking if we’re not going to be reliving the same old jams year after year.”