After an expected very busy half-term getaway on cross-Channel routes, people heading to Europe via Kent for the Platinum Jubilee break are urged to help keep the county open for business by planning journeys – and booking ahead.
The call from Kent Resilience Forum (KRF) partners follows confirmation from Eurotunnel and Dover ferry firms that ticket sales for Wednesday and Thursday (1-2 June) are once 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. The Port of Dover announced Monday (30 May) it handled more than 100,000 passengers, over 22,000 cars and 10,500 HGVs for the first weekend of the half-term holiday – matching pre-pandemic levels.
Driving conditions in the South East are also currently further impacted by reduced P&O services at Dover – resulting in the Operation Brock traffic management scheme being used on the M20 for over two months to control the flow of lorries heading to Europe.
Traffic controls can also apply at Brenley Corner, at 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.
KRF partners are meeting daily, continually assessing updates from the Port of Dover, Eurotunnel, and National Highways, to help manage the flow of traffic to the border.
Additionally to help Kent’s roads keep moving as smoothly as possible over this busy period:
- KRF partners and travel operators worked with Liverpool Football Club to ensure the team’s supporters heading to the UEFA Champions League final in Paris on Saturday (28 May) via Dover and Eurotunnel had tickets for their crossings
- Extra officers were deployed to Dover to help ease congestion in the town on Sunday (29 May)
- Welfare was provided to queued HGV drivers on Saturday (28 May) by KRF partner the Coastguard
- National Highways changed the traffic management for its improvement works on the A2070 Bad Munstereifel Road around the Orbital Park, in Ashford. Lifting the single-lane restriction until Monday, 6 June, helps makes things smoother for local traffic and for tourists heading to the coast, and
- Extra freight holding capacity has been secured at Sevington Inland Border Facility and Ashford International Truckstop as an extra contingency should Brock become full.
Resilience Forum Tactical Lead Toby Howe said: “As predicted, it was a very busy half-term getaway on cross-Channel routes with KRF partners, including National Highways, Kent Police and Kent County Council, working round-the-clock with Eurotunnel and Port of Dover to help get thousands of tourists, Liverpool fans and hauliers safely on their way to Europe.
“With the peak of the half-term getaway behind us, we’re now looking to Wednesday and Thursday when once again we’ll see a high number of passengers travelling across the Channel to take advantage of the Platinum Jubilee break.
“People going to Europe via the Port of Dover and Eurotunnel as we head into the extended Bank Holiday should plan their journeys, allow plenty of time, carry essentials and book in advance. There will be no turn-up-and-go tickets available on the ferries.”
For where to find the latest traffic updates in Kent, and for general safe travel tips #EverySingleJourney visit: Check before you travel – Kent County Council
Toby Howe added: “We’re very aware of the impacts of border disruption on Kent.
“Currently using traffic controls are 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.
“Under current plans, National Highways will remove the M20 Brock controls at the end of the Jubilee celebrations, overnight Sunday, 5 June. This step will enable works to permanently relocate the moveable barrier at the heart of the Brock road layout to the central reservation to re-start.”
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