Operation Brock starts and stops in Kent

1st November 2019

Operation Brock

Motorists in Kent are likely to have faced some disruption in recent days as a result of a new traffic management measure being implemented ahead of Brexit.

Operation Brock officially came online on Monday (October 28th) but has now been deactivated.


What is Operation Brock?

Operation Brock is an initiative designed to improve the resilience of Kent’s roads network in the event of disruption to services across the English Channel.

It came into effect on October 28th ahead of the UK’s potential departure from the EU on October 31st – a date that has now been pushed back until the end of January 2020, meaning it is no longer required.

However, with the potential for the UK to leave sooner should an exit deal be agreed, Operation Brock may return soon.

Highways England south-east operations director Nicola Bell commented: “Operation Brock is part of a set of measures put in place to allow the M20 and the rest of Kent to keep moving in the event of cross-channel disruption.

“We have worked extensively with our partners in Kent to ensure that the county is as prepared as possible for any disruption to cross-channel services. We thank road users in advance for their patience while we carry out this necessary work.”


What it means for Kent’s motorists

A contraflow was placed in operation along the M20 London-bound carriageway between junctions 8 and 9 (from Maidstone to Ashford). It was for the use of lorries heading for mainland Europe which could be directed onto the coastbound carriageway, where they could be queued if necessary.

The impact of the contraflow system will be to limit carriageway capacity in the affected areas for regular motorists, although this reduction in capacity for travellers will help to ensure smoother, more reliable journeys due to a reduction in delays as freight vehicles queue to access cross-channel services at the Port of Dover.

A temporary 50 mph speed limit was also implemented for all travellers in affected areas.

Now offline once more, the initiative can be restarted as soon as further clarity is seen on the UK’s estimated date of EU departure. As a result, the operation itself is to be held under continuous review by Highways England.

Delays may now be seen along the affected route as engineers work to reopen the carriageway to three lanes in both directions, resulting in a temporary closure of the M20 between junctions 7 and 9. However, Highways England has stated all work will have been completed by 6am on October 31st.

Ellie Baker, brand manager at Fuel Card Services, comments: “Increasing the resilience of transport infrastructure in the run-up to Brexit is a sensible measure that will help to ensure businesses up and down the UK continue to run smoothly.”