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Lorry drivers could be fined £300 under permit scheme to ease congestion on Kent roads

The Department for Transport (DfT) is consulting about regulations to ensure lorries can't bypass traffic management queues in Kent and that checks take place away from the border.

Number plate recognition cameras could be used to enforce compliance, while traffic officers will get new powers to require drivers to present documents proving they are ready to proceed to ports.

The checks would take place in the Operation Brock queuing area, with drivers prohibited from entering the queuing area without a permit showing they had joined via the M26.

The contraflow system, dubbed Operation Brock, on the M20
The contraflow system, dubbed Operation Brock, on the M20

The government is proposing access to a number of roads for permit holders, including parts of the M20, the A2, the A256 and the A299.

Some roads will have unrestricted access to allow movement between queues.

However, cross-Channel HGVs will be prohibited from using all other roads when Operation Brock is in place.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: "The proposed package of legislation would do two things.

"It would provide additional powers to ensure compliance with the Operation Brock contingency plan, and it would make it possible for access to the roads leading into the Channel Tunnel terminal at Folkestone and the Port of Dover to be made conditional on compliance with border readiness checks.

“These measures have the potential to make a material contribution to the effective management traffic disruption in Kent, and to facilitate traffic flows at ports."

Grant Shapps
Grant Shapps

The measures that are a part of Operation Brock include the use of Manston airfield as a holding area for as many as 3,000 HGVs.

Dover MP Charlie Elphicke said: "This news is long overdue but very welcome.

"For too long lorries have clogged up Kent roads, causing misery for local drivers.

"I have always argued that a ticket system enforced with technology should not be beyond us. And that checks can easily take place away from the ports.

"Yet I do still have concerns. I want to see this scheme applied when Dover TAP is in place, not just for Operation Brock.

"Last weekend Dover was gridlocked yet again by vehicles bypassing the TAP queue."

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