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Kent County Council leader Roger Gough raises questions over implementation of Operation Brock

The leader of Kent County Council says he is disappointed by the decision to reinstate Operation Brock and is calling on the government to ensure that new checks on lorries do not lead to congestion and delays.

Cllr Gough says the decision to implement the traffic management system was unwelcome and raised questions about how the contingency measures were considered necessary for this Bank Holiday weekend but not for the two previous ones.

Kent County Council leader Roger Gough
Kent County Council leader Roger Gough

Speaking at the county council’s annual meeting, he said: “We have been pleased to see two consecutive holiday weekends without the need for Operation Brock but then immediately after that …. because of high coach volumes at Easter, Operation Brock was needed.

“We now see strong demand for both the Port of Dover and Eurotunnel for the Whitsun weekend, which is good in one sense because demand has risen to pre-pandemic levels - but the consequence of this is disappointingly that Brock is once again being needed to assist with the fluidity at the gateway to Europe.

“This is a reminder of the scale of the pressures we still face with the consequent impact on residents and businesses, the more so in the light of the coming - if not delayed - implementation of the European Union’s entry-exit system. We are continuing to push the Department for Transport and other government departments who we are deeply engaged with to address these issues.”

The Operation Brock contraflow system is designed to keep traffic on the M20 and other roads in Kent moving when there is disruption to travel across the English Channel.

Checks on lorries entering the UK carrying certain products have been delayed four times because of worries about disruption.

Operation Brock is back ahead of Bank Holiday
Operation Brock is back ahead of Bank Holiday

In April, the government announced post-Brexit checks on potentially harmful goods coming to the UK from the EU are to be reduced and simplified.

The new Border Target Operating Model involving fewer checks and bureaucracy, and more digitisation - backed by more than £1bn in funding - has been announced to "minimise trader burdens and maintain border security while remaining aligned with international standards".

South Thanet MP Craig Mackinlay says more imaginitive solutions were required, such as checking passports on coaches before they got to Dover.

“The problem with Dover is that it is a small port,” the Conservative said.

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