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Operation Brock back as tens of thousands head to Europe over the summer

Published: 10/07/2023
Traffic on a motorway

Operation Brock is set to return to the M20 this week ahead of a very busy summer getaway.

With the highest passenger numbers since before the pandemic booked to cross the channel in July and August on ferries from Dover and trains through Le Shuttle, the contraflow at the heart of the Brock traffic management scheme will be reinstated overnight on Thursday 13 July.

Kent Resilience Forum (KRF) leaders are thanking residents, businesses, drivers and hauliers for their patience while the contraflow is in place and urging people to plan their cross-Channel journeys, including booking ahead, to help keep Kent moving and open for business throughout the busy summer period.

The altered road layout between Junctions 8 and 9 reduces the impact of disruption by directing lorries heading for mainland Europe onto the motorway’s coastbound carriageway, where they can be held, if necessary, while all other traffic can continue on its journey in both directions.

The installation of Brock means lorries heading to the continent are legally required to follow the signed HGV routes to the Port of Dover and Le Shuttle.

The need for Brock to be in place will be regularly reviewed by the KRF throughout the summer, and removed as soon as the potential risk of disruption has passed.

KRF Strategic Planning Lead Simon Jones, said: “The decision to deploy Operation Brock is never taken lightly and is based on data and intelligence that clearly shows there is a potential risk of disruption on routes to the Port of Dover and Le Shuttle.

“Kent’s Short Straits gateways provide a critical national role for international trade and tourism as the shortest crossing to mainland Europe for lorries and holidaymakers.

“Both Port of Dover and Le Shuttle are reporting high booking numbers through July and August, with an increase in tourist traffic from the weekend of 15/16 July, as tens of thousands of passengers will set off to Europe during the school holiday season.

“When we also take into consideration everyday freight and local traffic, combined with high numbers of tourists heading to our beaches and attractions, we know how busy the roads in Kent will be.

“Brock is there to ease congestion and to make sure that we can manage freight bound for Europe, therefore protecting the local road network, and allowing people to reach their destination and go about their business with the minimum disruption possible.

“As Strategic Lead for the KRF, I am absolutely committed to keeping the deployment of the barrier under constant review over the coming weeks and removing it as soon as possible.

“I would like to thank everyone who drives along this stretch of the M20 through Kent for their patience during this busy summer getaway, and also urge hauliers to follow the signs on the M20 and stick to the official route.”

People needing to drive in or through Kent this summer should also follow simple steps to ensure they reach their destination safely.

Before you travel

  • Make sure your vehicle is fit for the journey – carry out our recommended vehicle checks.
  • Check the weather forecast for your route and destination
  • If hot weather is forecast, take plenty of drinking water with you – enough for you and your passengers.
  • Allow plenty of time for your journey, including regular breaks.
  • Check travel conditions before setting out and, where it's safe to do so, during the journey

During periods of extreme hot weather, adjust your travel to avoid the hottest days and times of day if you can.

Pack a summer kit

Carry essential summer supplies just in case you need them, especially if there's a forecast for severe weather. Essentials include:

  • drinking water
  • snacks that won’t be affected by the heat.
  • a fully charged mobile phone and a charger.
  • a hat
  • sunglasses
  • sun block
  • any emergency medication you may need.

For the latest traffic and travel updates in Kent visit: Check before you travel – Kent County Council

For more information on Operation Brock, visit National Highways’ website.

For further details about the Kent Resilience Forum partnership visit the Kent Prepared website.

View summer holiday information from Port of Dover and Le Shuttle:

Article courtesy of Kent County Council