Home   Kent   News   Article

Operation Brock contra-flow on M20 between Ashford and Maidstone is 'dangerous' senior county councillor warns

A senior county councillor has warned that a contra-flow on the M20 is dangerous and emergency services will be hampered when called out to attend accidents.

Highways England activated Operation Brock this week even though there were no delays or disruption at the Channel ports or Eurotunnel.

The contingency plans - intended to limit the impact of a no deal Brexit scenario - involve a contra-flow on the London-bound carriage-way of the M20 and using the coast-bound stretch between Ashford and Maidstone for lorries.

Paul on Politics broadcast on KMTV

The leader of the opposition Liberal Democrat group at KCC Cllr Rob Bird said: “I wrote to the head of Highways England in October with concerns; and those concerns were dismissed. Since it has been in place this week there have been four road traffic collisions. The narrow lanes are not just dangerous - it makes it very difficult for emergency services to cover any incident.”

“If Manston is fully utilised there will be something like 300 lorries an hour heading down to Dover 24-hours a day.”

He was speaking on the latest edition of “Paul On Politics” on KMTV.

Meanwhile, the impact of the scheme could be disastrous for the county’s economy, according to Professor Richard Scase of the University of Kent, a leading authority on the future of business and socio-economic trends.

Cllr Rob Bird
Cllr Rob Bird

He said: “It is going to be an absolute disaster for all parts of the Kent economy. Kent is made up of very disparate communities; people travel from A to B; children go to different schools; people live in one place and work in another; there is going to be a huge knock-on effect on secondary roads.

“The dangers and risks of traffic moving in opposite directions on one side are incredible. I wouldn't want to be driving on the motorway.”

An incident last Wednesday involving a jack-knifed lorry and a car led to six-mile tailbacks on the motorway stretching back to Junction 6. There have a succession of other minor incidents.

Highways England said it would be reviewing the scheme on a weekly basis but said it could not be activated or taken down quickly.

A Highways England spokesperson said: "The M20 contraflow, which was deployed for the first time last week as part of Operation Brock is operating safely. The arrangements enable the M20 to remain open in both direction in the event of disruption, and has been designed so that any incidents that occur can be resolved quickly and safely.

"We are working closely with the emergency services and have agreed priority arrangements to emergency services to access all incident types.

"We are keeping the performance of Operation Brock continually under review with our partners in the Kent Resilience Forum, and we urge drivers to drive with extra care and attention while they get used to this new road layout."

Close This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.Learn More