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KMRF traffic measures 

Frequently asked questions

What is the advice for people driving in and around to Kent?

As a key gateway to the Continent and a county with great beaches, countryside, shopping, history and culture, Kent’s roads can get very busy with local, tourist and freight traffic. The many attractions in Kent and Medway are open and ready to provide a warm welcome to visitors.  If you need to travel by car, make sure you’re prepared for #EverySingleJourney and #CheckBeforeYouTravel.

 

To avoid leaving things to chance, KMRF partners are advising people driving in or through Kent to continue being prepared for delays by following simple steps including:

  • CHECKING your route before you travel will help you to avoid traffic queues and reach your destination smoothly.  

  • ALLOWING extra time to get to your destination

  • CHECKING your vehicle before you set off. Most breakdowns are avoidable and checking your tyres, lights, fuel, oil and water can help you have a safer, smoother journey

  • PACKING your car with essentials, including food, water, medicines you take regularly and essentials you may need if travelling with children and pets.

 

Where can I find the latest traffic and travel updates in Kent?

For travel advice visit the KCC web page here: Check before you travel – Kent County Council

 

You can also check the latest travel information on X (formerly Twitter):

 

What is Operation Brock?

Operation Brock is a series of traffic management measures in Kent, which may be activated at times of cross-Channel disruption if there are significant delays at the border between the UK and France.

 

The plans are flexible and can be activated depending on the volume and impact on flows around the county, particularly traffic leaving the country via the Kent-based ports.

 

Plans remain under continual review to ensure the most effective measures are being used to help get people to their destination and protect communities from the worst impacts of disruption.

 

Check National Highways Brock web page for the latest on Operation Brock updates.

 

Operation Brock uses a moveable barrier system on the M20 as part of a contraflow to allow the motorway and junctions to remain open during Channel port disruption. When Operation Brock is active all HGV vehicles heading to the Port of Dover or Eurotunnel must join Brock at Junction 8 of the M20 so the flow of traffic heading across the Channel can be controlled. Operation Brock is one part of a suite of contingency measures which can be scaled up or down in the event of possible disruption at the ports. The barrier consists of concrete blocks and can be deployed during an overnight closure.

 

When is Operation Brock implemented and why?

The decision to deploy Operation Brock is not taken lightly, and is made jointly between the Kent and Medway Resilience Forum partners – National Highways, Kent Police, Kent County Council, local authorities and the Government – based on several key factors. These include intelligence gathered about emerging situations, traffic modelling and passenger/freight bookings. When Brock is active, all KMRF partners work to return the situation to normal as quickly as possible.

Are there stages to Operation Brock?

Additional short term measures are sometimes used alongside the Brock contraflow. When they are, traffic may be diverted away from the M20 and should follow the signs and listen to local radio travel updates.

What vehicles are required to join Operation Brock? 

All HGVs that are Europe bound are required by law to only use M20/A20 when Brock is in place. 

What is TAP 20?

TAP stands for Traffic Assessment Protocol and is a traffic management scheme that queues freight in the left-hand lane of the coastbound carriageway of the A20 heading into the Port of Dover. It is triggered by a request from the Port of Dover and applied by National Highways. By queuing lorries on one side of the carriageway, as they wait for space to enter the port, other non-EU bound traffic can continue on its journey along the second lane. Controlling freight movement into the port helps protect Dover town from disruption. For more details about TAP visit the gov.uk website.

What happens to lorries that do not comply with Op Brock?

All hauliers must follow the signs to enter Brock at junction 8 on the M20 and continue to follow signage to their point of departure. Failure to do so could lead to the driver being fined up to £300. Also, any hauliers being seen to try and ‘jump the queue’ will be turned back and instructed to join the back of the queue on the M20 at junction 8.

What measures have been introduced to reduce haulier non-compliance with Operation Brock?

A new permit system has been introduced to prevent hauliers from ‘rat running’ and dodging the queues in Operation Brock as they head to the Port of Dover.

 

Whilst the vast majority of freight drivers adhere to the rules of Operation Brock, there are hauliers who contribute to delays elsewhere in the county by attempting to skip the queues.

 

Stepping up compliance measures to ensure that freight drivers stick to the traffic management plan and do not circumnavigate Brock will reduce congestion and make all journeys to the Port of Dover more straightforward.

It will also reduce the need for the sudden closures of the A20 Roundhill Tunnels and help keep local roads flowing more freely in busy periods.

Visit the Haulier permit system page for further details on this scheme.

Why does the Roundhill Tunnel get closed?

 

The Dover-bound Roundhill Tunnel is only closed as a safety measure when the build-up of queuing traffic at the back of Dover TAP would continue into the tunnel itself.

 

The queue on the Folkestone side of the tunnel then begins to affect cars and lorries getting off the M20 and into the Eurotunnel terminal, which only results in more disruption.

 

Unfortunately, we have no choice regarding the closure of the tunnel, as standing traffic is not allowed in any National Highways tunnel, due to the danger of fumes in a confined area and the risk of vehicles catching fire while held in a queue.

 

Will welfare assistance be provided in queues?

In many instances, it is not possible to provide welfare and associated facilities due to the safety issues. Continuously moving queues make it a difficult and dangerous environment to either deploy or distribute welfare. Drivers are therefore urged to plan ahead, ensuring they have sufficient supplies of food, water, medication and any other supplies to keep healthy and safe for a prolonged period while queuing for the ports, and to use toilet facilities at service stations before joining the queue.

 

However, contingency arrangements are in place for ensuring basic welfare assistance can be provided where appropriate and safe to do so by the Kent and Medway Resilience Forum partnership to drivers in the event of major disruption on Kent’s cross-Channel routes.

 

Why are there no toilets provided for people stuck in queues?

Unfortunately, it is not possible to provide toilet facilities on a live carriageway due to the safety issues. Motorists are advised to use toilet facilities at service stations before joining the queue. In the event of significant disruption, HGV drivers may be advised to queue at specific sites where they can access food and other amenities.

 

What is the difference between Operation Brock and Operation Stack?

Unlike Operation Stack which involved the full closure of the M20, Operation Brock is designed to help keep the M20 open and the traffic moving in both directions using the contraflow.

Which agency is responsible for what?

 

National Highways is responsible for the Strategic Road Network (M2, M20 and parts of the A2 & A20) and for the delivery of the Brock infrastructure on the strategic road network and Kent County Council is responsible for the delivery of traffic measures on the local network. Kent Police is one of the contributing partners to the resourcing and multi-agency decision making process alongside all other KRF partners.

 

What would it look like if Operation Brock was not in place?

Without these measures in place, there would be much greater risk of severe congestion on more of Kent’s road networks when there is disruption at the ports due to HGV flows being uncontrolled. This would cover a greater geographical area and last for much longer. Whilst they are disruptive, these measures make sure these potential wider impacts on local roads, communities, businesses and the delivery of local services are minimised.

 

We fully appreciate the frustrations of drivers, residents and businesses affected by severe traffic disruption. The KMRF’s plans are kept under constant review to minimise the impact that this has on communities, businesses and road users.

Where can local communities and businesses find the latest updates? 

For the latest updates on any services changes and useful contacts in your community, you can find out more by visiting the following websites:

 

  • If you are a resident or business in the Dover District visit here

  • If you are a resident or business in the Folkestone & Hythe District visit here

 

What plans are in place to ensure emergency service can be provided to local communities during periods of severe traffic disruption?

 

When disruption occurs in and around the areas of Dover and Folkestone, be reassured that emergency services can get to where they need to, however bad the situation is on the roads. 

 

Fire Service

Kent Fire and Rescue Service has plans in place to make sure they can carry on providing an effective emergency response in areas of significant congestion. They do this by moving crews, fire engines and other resources around the county to provide cover where it’s needed.

 

They urge everyone to only call 999 in an emergency, where there is a risk to life or property.

 

Ambulances

In periods of expected increased traffic build up, South East Coast Ambulance (SECAMB) can station paramedics in your area to ensure they are as prepared as possible to provide care for seriously ill or injured patients. In periods of disruption in and around Dover and Folkestone, they may organise for ambulance crews to start and finish their shifts more locally, which would further help with the response.

 

Please be assured that SECAMB position their vehicles to best respond to patient demand. You can help manage demand by only dialling 999 in an emergency and making use of alternatives including NHS 111.

 

Police

Kent Police officers will still reach you quickly in an emergency even when there is heavy traffic congestion. They have enough officers in place to enable them to get to an emergency, and can move people around the county to provide cover where it is needed. You do not need to visit a police station to report an incident.

 

The quickest way is online at www.kent.police.uk/report but always call 999 in an emergency including if a crime is in progress or someone’s life is at risk.

 

Health

The NHS in Kent and Medway has tried and tested plans to make sure patients can access the care they need during periods of disruption. Patients can help by making sure they use the right service for them. If you are not sure where to go or what help you need, use NHS 111 online (111.nhs.uk) or on the phone.

 

Visit www.StopThinkChoose.co.uk for more information and a list of local services.

 

What is the Kent and Medway Resilience Forum?

The Kent and Medway Resilience Forum (KRF) is a partnership of organisations and agencies who work together to improve the resilience of Kent and Medway, and to ensure a coordinated response to emergencies that could have a significant impact on communities. For information about the Kent and Medway Resilience Forum please visit the ‘about us’ page here.

 

How do I make a complaint to the Kent and Medway Resilience Forum?

The KMRF as a Local Resilience Forum is not a legal entity and as such does not have its own statutory complaints process. If you wish to formally complain about the actions or procedures of any of the KMRF partners, all the statutory partners will have their own complaints process which you can access.

How do I make a complaint about the Kent and Medway Resilience Forum?

Complaints about the KRF can be brought to the attention of your local Member of Parliament, who may refer the matter to the relevant government department. Find the contact details for your MP here: Contact your MP - UK Parliament.

 

Media enquiries

Please direct all media enquiries, including those about multi-agency incidents, to the press office of appropriate lead partner agency for response (rather than the Kent Resilience Team). A list of Kent and Medway Resilience Forum's partner agencies and links to their respective websites can be found be visiting 'our partners' page.

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