People heading to Europe through Kent are being are urged to help keep the county open for business by planning journeys and booking ahead, as another busy weekend is expected at the Port of Dover and Eurotunnel.
The call from Kent Resilience Forum (KRF) partners follows confirmation from Eurotunnel and Dover ferry firms that ticket sales from Thursday (28 July) through to Monday (1 Aug) are again high and there will be no turn-up-and-go availability at the port.
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.
Driving conditions in the South-East are also currently further impacted by the Operation Brock traffic management scheme being used on the M20 to manage the flow of lorries heading to Europe.
Traffic controls can also apply at Brenley Corner, Faversham, to ensure EU-bound HGVs attempting to reach Dover via the M2 are returned to the M20 to re-join the Brock system. This enforcement measure helps keep Dover town free of freight heading across to Europe.
Another national train strike on Saturday 30 July, which is affecting all train operators across the country, could also result in more cars on Kent’s roads than usual.
Kent Resilience Forum Strategic Lead Simon Jones said: “It goes without saying that we are hoping not to see a repeat of the delays on the M20 and A20 that we saw last weekend, but both passenger and freight numbers are expected to be high again from today.
“All partners in the KRF want people to get to where they want and need to be as quickly and safely as they possibly can. That’s why it’s still so important that drivers going to Europe via the Port of Dover and Eurotunnel should plan their journeys, allow plenty of time, carry essentials and book in advance.
“Everyone in Kent, but particularly the communities around the port and Eurotunnel, is all too aware of the impacts of border disruption on Kent. The traffic management controls in place this weekend are currently our best option for keeping the county moving as smoothly as possible, helping residents go about their daily lives and ensuring staycationers can enjoy the county’s many attractions. We thank everyone for their ongoing patience.”
National Highways is reminding hauliers heading through Kent that all HGVs heading for the Port of Dover or Eurotunnel must follow the signs to join Operation Brock at M20 junction 8.
Any EU-bound HGVs not complying with signage and trying to use another route to Eurotunnel or the Port of Dover risk a fine of £300. They will also be sent to the back of the queue by Police or enforcement agents, wasting time, fuel and money. This includes trying to bypass the M20 by using the M2/A2 at Brenley Corner.
All other coast bound traffic – including local freight and car drivers headed for the continent – should follow the signs and cross over to enter the contraflow on the M20 London bound carriageway.
The advice for anyone setting off to Europe and travelling through Kent is to;
- check the latest advice with their operators before travelling
- leave extra time for journeys
- ensure you have enough food and water provisions with you
- stay up to date about traffic conditions by following @HighwaysSEAST on Twitter or tuning in to local radio
- check your tyres, water and oil before you set off
You can find all the latest traffic updates in Kent, and check out general safe travel tips for #EverySingleJourney by visiting : Check before you travel – Kent County Council
For further information about Operation Brock go to: nationalhighways.co.uk/travel-updates/operation-brock
For more details about the Kent Resilience Forum partnership see the Kent Prepared website