The Road Haulage Association is cautious over latest Government plans to ease traffic congestion in Kent ahead of Brexit.
The new plans for Operation Stack will allow traffic to travel in both directions between junctions 8 and 9 as lorries queue for the Port of Dover and Eurotunnel. It’s hoped this will avoid traffic being diverted to minor roads.
Roads Minister Jesse Norman said: “This interim plan will help minimise the disruption and mean people will be able to go about their everyday lives….as well as businesses being able to get to their customers.”
RHA chief executive, Richard Burnett responded: “Government says these arrangements will allow traffic to continue flowing in the event of lorries queueing to cross the Channel. But as we still don’t know what the customs arrangements will look like post Brexit, it appears that they’re putting forward a traffic management system before the scale of the problem has been established.
“This is further evidence of the real danger of not achieving fluid borders after Brexit; Kent would be turned into a huge traffic jam with devastating effects to the supply chain, the local economy and the people of Kent.”
A public consultation by Highways England to establish a permanent solution to Operation Stack will be launched shortly. The RHA is concerned that the announcement has happened before the consultation has taken place.
“We’re disappointed the Government hasn’t engaged more with the haulage industry over measures to ensure the smooth flow of goods through Dover,” continued Richard Burnett. ”We need to see much more detail than they are currently prepared to give.”
The Department for Transport’s press notice doesn’t mention Brexit but it’s clear that the Government is planning how to manage the consequences of an unsuccessful Brexit deal which would mean implementing border checks.
The new plans for Operation Stack will be available for use by early 2019.