Published: 17:35, 21 March 2019
| Updated: 21:11, 21 March 2019
Kent is as ready as it can be for Brexit, according to the council leader.
At today's full council meeting the leader of the council, Paul Carter, said they were as prepared as it could be for Brexit but there were still issues that needed to be ironed out.
It has also been suggested that Operation Brock would be operable from Monday.
It would be down to the secretary of state for transport Chris Grayling whether it would be kept in place.
Cllr Carter said: “We have moved mountains in the last few months to get the government to understand events down here in Kent. We have got the best preparedness for disruption.”
He said that the M20 contraflow was not without risk and there were still some issues to be sorted out but they would be tested next week.
And he conceded that the uncertainty around Brexit had affected Kent tourism and that the figures for bookings were down.
Opposition Lib Dem leader Cllr Rob Bird said he was concerned for the safety of drivers.
He said: “I am not sure that I share your confidence about the M20. Only yesterday we had lorries queuing on the M20 trying to get in to Eurotunnel.
"If the lorries cannot get through it is dangerous. I am also concerned about the approach of Highways England to safety on the M20.
"Narrow lanes are dangerousand Highways England are in denial. They are not only dangerous but they create problems all over the county.”
"We have moved mountains in the last few months to get the government to understand events down here in Kent..." Cllr Paul Carter
The government is preparing to trigger a swathe of contingency Brexit plans from next week if no-deal is agreed in the next few days.
The measures are designed to limit the potential disruption to key services and to mitigate against disruption and delays on the road network.
Brexit secretary Steve Barclay is reported to have told the cabinet that it is preparing to implement measures to cope with the worst-case scenario under a ‘no-deal’ situation next week.
Codenamed “Yellowhammer” it primarily enables a "command and control" system to prevent runs on food, fuel and banks.
According to a leaked letter, the minister said: “Operation Yellowhammer command and control structures will be enacted fully on March 25 unless a new exit date has been agreed between the UK and the EU.
“If an extension is confirmed . . . it will mean maintaining a no-deal scenario as operational focus. Cabinet will subsequently need to decide whether to further intensify or scale back efforts, depending on length of extension.”
A report presented to county councillors today says that the authority still has “various strands of work to be completed” in the face of the looming Brexit deadline.
“I am not sure that I share your confidence about the M20..." Cllr Rob Bird
It does not identify what outstanding issues remain but says it is talking with the government about them. The report also warns that dealing with Brexit under a no-deal would incur "significant but as yet unquantified" costs.
The report reveals that 43 “tactical managers” have been recruited to oversee and organise contingency plans.
The key focus for KCC is limiting the disruption that delays and congestion on roads through Operation Brock, which is the new version of Operation Stack.
Contingency plans are being co-ordinated by the Kent Resilience Forum, made up of councils, emergency services and other organisations.