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Road Traffic Control: Dover

Question for Department for Transport

UIN 16865, tabled on 13 June 2022

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to ease congestion arising from lorry traffic departing Dover.

Answered on

21 June 2022

Recent increase in traffic queues for freight and passenger travel in Kent was caused by a combination of factors. Disruption began because of adverse weather conditions causing delays to sailings from Port of Dover and the situation was significantly exacerbated by the well-documented actions of P&O Ferries which account for over 35% of the market share of Dover. Coupled with the brief cessation of Eurotunnel services due to a breakdown and an increase in passenger and freight traffic, disruption quickly grew in Kent.

The Kent Resilience Forum’s (KRF’s) traffic management and enforcement plans, including activation of Operation Brock on the M20, were put in place in late March to ensure continued flow of vehicles through Kent to ports whilst also trying to maintain local mobility as much as possible. Additional resilience measures were put in place, which had a positive impact on maintaining throughput to the ports and keeping local roads moving.

Over the May half-term and Jubilee Weekend, there was no significant disruption on the Kent strategic road network. Operation Brock has now been deactivated as of 5 June, but the Kent Resilience Forum (KRF) will reconsider deploying it ahead of the start of the school summer holidays.

To further ease congestion in Dover, we are strengthening enforcement against those hauliers deviating from Operation Brock and causing gridlock on local roads, and greater usage of freight parking capacity at Sevington Inland Border Facility and Ashford Truck Stop when Operation Brock is reaching its capacity. These measures will help to keep the M20 open to all vehicles and enable local and passenger traffic to keep flowing throughout Kent.