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Operation Stack causes long delays at the Port of Dover and Eurotunnel after Counter Terrorism Police request for security checks


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There was freight chaos on the roads with huge delays at both the Port of Dover and Eurotunnel and Operation Stack in place after a counter terror operation.

Police spent a day checking every passenger and vehicle at the tunnel and the county's biggest port leading to waits of several hours and the instigation of Dover TAP. The police operation is now finished and the force would not comment on the background.

Lorries queue for the Eurotunnel, drivers are facing 90-minute delays just to get in to the terminal

Operation Stack was brought in as a result of the congestion this morning and remains in place - with lorries continuing to queue on the M20 and A20 heading into Dover for much of the evening.

Stack was brought in just before midday and stood down just after 1am, with some delays continuing for much of the morning.

Police spokesman Adam Westgarth confirmed the operation had started on Tuesday.

A spokesman for Counter Terrorism Policing said: "We can confirm that a request was made on Tuesday by Counter Terrorism Policing nationally for enhanced security checks to be carried out at UK ports. This was in relation to ongoing operational activity and this requirement has since been stood down. We would like to reassure the public that there is no threat to public safety in relation to this activity and thank all those affected for their cooperation and understanding."

There is stationary traffic on the A2 Jubilee Way coastbound at A20 (Eastern Docks roundabout) and congestion to the Duke of York roundabout.

Traffic was also very slow along the A256 from Whitfield heading into Dover as motorists try to avoid problems elsewhere.

Read more: What is Operation Stack and how does it work?

One lane is closed on the A20 coastbound between B2011 (Court Wood Interchange, Capel Le Ferne) and Dover (Western Heights roundabout, Dover) with congestion to Junction 11 (Hythe) of the M20.

The left hand lane is for lorries only heading to the port. All other traffic should use the right hand lane.

The coastbound carriageway of the M20 is closed and traffic is queuing due to Operation Stack from Junction 8 (A20 Ashford Road for Leeds Castle / Maidstone Services) to Junction 9 (A20 Fougeres Way Ashford).

Operation Stack in place on the M20
Operation Stack in place on the M20

Several entry sliproads on to the M20 were closed due to the sheer volume of traffic approaching the Dover TAP, which came into force yesterday , but have all now been reopened.

The chaos affected traffic as far away as Maidstone, where queues were backing up on the A229 Fairmeadow and Royal Engineers Road due to drivers trying to use alternative routes to the M20.

A Port of Dover spokesperson confirmed it was implemented following an accident which took place on the A20 yesterday morning.

The accident - which involved a van and a lorry - required air ambulance assistance.

It is not yet known what condition the injured driver is in.

The entrance to the Channel Tunnel is clogged Picture: Barry Goodwin
The entrance to the Channel Tunnel is clogged Picture: Barry Goodwin

The accident precluded yesterday's traffic.

TAP was put in place yesterday afternoon, the Port of Dover is keeping drivers informed via its social media page.

Its latest update, given just after 9pm, said: "Traffic is flowing into the Port of Dover but approach roads remain busy due to earlier Kent Police led activity within the Port estate."

Queues into the port town stretched back to Hythe, where HGVs were lining up to access the Channel Tunnel.

Dover and Deal MP Natalie Elphicke said: “It is of course vital that the Home Office takes whatever steps it feels necessary to keep the country safe – yet we do also need to understand what happened in relation to traffic management.

“Dover TAP, Operation Stack and Operation Brock are all schemes designed to ensure traffic is kept flowing and off local roads. We need to understand more about how the decisions on these were taken as things progressed, and I am liaising with various authorities to that end.

“Because as I have said recently in conversations with Transport Ministers, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Dover District Council and Kent County Council, our area has such an important role both in transition and in the future position of our country.

“It is vital that we keep Dover clear and I will continue to work hard on this issue going forward.”

Crews are working to clear Eythorne Road, Sheperdswell after a lorry caused a power outage
Crews are working to clear Eythorne Road, Sheperdswell after a lorry caused a power outage

Earlier, KentOnline reporter Charlie Harman - who went to see some of the queue near Shepherdswell - said: "It's a bizarre scene, with stationary vehicles as far as the eye can see.

"Drivers are just walking in the middle of the normally busy A2, and it's hard to see how you could even go near the direction of Dover.

"It comes down to a single lane near Coldred and if you're not a lorry driver, it seems to be a case of being stuck in the same system without much chance of getting out."

He also noted lorries had been making diversions into smaller villages, causing gridlock.

In Shepherdswell, lorries had parked overnight near the train station and one caused a power outage due to an accident.

The key thoroughfare was cleared by police, having caused chaos in the village due to gridlock.

Many observers have raised concerns the level of traffic experienced today could become a regular occurrence after this year if customs checks spiral out of control when the UK leaves the EU.

Dover TAP constitutes one of five stages which will be enacted once Operation Brock is required.

The situation has only worsened since yesterday, when this picture was taken. Picture: David Joseph Wright
The situation has only worsened since yesterday, when this picture was taken. Picture: David Joseph Wright

Once capacity is reached along the A20, lorries will be held at the M20 between Junctions 8 and 9.

Once that has been filled, the contraflow system will be used on the M20 and incoming traffic diverted to Manston.

When the 3,000-space facility there is filled, a TAP system will come into force along the A256.

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Avoid getting stuck on Kent's roads by keeping up-to-date on all of the latest traffic and travel news here or by following our live blog .

Read more: All the latest news from Dover

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