Operation Brock, the government’s plan to deal with disruption at the channel ports, has come in for criticism after being implemented on Monday ahead of Brexit.
Operation Brock queues lorries bound for mainland Europe on the coast bound M20 and uses a contraflow on the London-bound carriageway to enable other traffic to travel in both directions.
But, according to local press reports, there were three accidents in the first 48 hours of the contraflow’s operation.
And Charlie Elphicke, MP for Dover and Deal, said: “This is not a solution. It means yet another section of the M20 with a reduced speed limit. And using Manston Airport is a bad idea. It’s a long way from the port and lorries will be expected to use single lane carriageways to get there.
“This project just kicks the can down the motorway. What we need to see is proper investment – in lorry parks and a dualled A2. It’s been needed for years, regardless of Brexit.”
Highways England argues that Operation Brock is a significant improvement on Operation Stack. Project director John Kerner said it could be used to queue up to 11,000 lorries heading for mainland Europe, while keeping other traffic flowing for people living, working and travelling in and around Kent.”
The idea behind Operation Brock is that it has a number of stages that can be deployed sequentially to scale up to meet demand. The contraflow between junctions 8 and 9 allows lorries to be queued on the coast-bound carriageway.
If the M20 becomes full, lorries for Dover will be directed to Manston airfield, while the M20 will be used to hold traffic for the channel tunnel.
Then, if more capacity is needed, the M26 could also be used to hold lorries for the channel tunnel.