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Police chiefs warn of up to six months travel disruption after Brexit trainsition period ends

Drivers can expect three to six months of disruption on Kent's roads after the UK's transition period with the EU comes to an end.

Kent Police Chief Constable Alan Pughsley says this is the time frame the force has been planning for.

Lorries queue at Eurotunnel as delays grow (43477789)
Lorries queue at Eurotunnel as delays grow (43477789)

This morning, a public briefing given by the Chief Constable and Kent Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Scott was told the disruption was likely to begin on Sunday, January 3, at the earliest, after the transition period ends on December 31.

He said: "Anybody who thinks life in Kent is not going to be disrupted and affected over the next three to six months is probably a little disillusioned.

"There is going to be, without any doubt whatsoever, traffic disruption; how big and how broad that is [will depend on] how effective all of our planning partnership will be.

"We are thinking very hard about the community impact, particularly in the east of the county."

The worst case scenario estimated by the government is a queue of 7,000 lorries - a figure first revealed in September.

Chief Constable Pughsley added the maximum estimated delay for crossing the Channel was two days, and there would be interrupted supply chains for food, essential goods and medicines.

He said Kent Police had established a dedicated response headed by a chief officer and said the force was in the "strongest place we possibly can be" to respond to the challenges, which it believes could include protests on either side of the Channel.

There are a number of traffic management plans which have been formulated.

These include Operation TAP, which involves controlling vehicles on the A20 in Dover. This has capacity for 500 vehicles.

This can be escalated by putting in place Operation Brock, in which Junction 8 to 9 of the M20 Londonbound carriageway would be used to store 2,000 vehicles.

"There is going to be, without any doubt whatsoever, traffic disruption..."

Manston Airport has capacity for 4,000 vehicles, whilst the Ashford MOJO site at Sevington will have enough spaces for 2,000.

Mr Scott said: "One hopes we will get some certainty in the next couple of days as to what outlook we will be preparing for, but whatever the level of disruption is, the plans are mature and they have been considered for a very long time."

How is Brexit going to affect Kent? For all the latest news, views and analysis visit our dedicated page here.

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