Moveable barrier set to deal with Brexit disruption

New moveable barrier set to deal with any Brexit disruption on M20

A moveable concrete barrier described as a “long-term solution to handle traffic disruption in Kent”, will be in place from December 2020, the Government has announced.

The new technology, which can be deployed within hours using a specialist vehicle, will be a marked improvement in comparison to Operation Brock which required a month of overnight closures to deploy the metal barrier required for the contraflow system previously used. 

The Government said the new technology will ensure that the M20 is kept open at times of disruption, whilst also allowing the motorway to retain three lanes, a hard shoulder and 70 mph speed limits in both directions during normal traffic conditions.

Highways England’s work on an ‘off road’ replacement for Operation Stack, including plans for a new large lorry holding area in Kent,  have now been scrapped.

FTA’s Policy Manger for the South East of England, Heidi Skinner, said the announcement will come as a welcome respite for those concerned about the impact of potential delays on the UK’s supply chain from the Continent, as well as on businesses and residents in Kent. 

 “However, there is more to be done to ensure that the new system will work in the best way possible and manage the congestion any form of cross-Channel disruption can cause, and we look forward to working with Highways England and DfT on this,” she added.

The Road Haulage Association (RHA) said giving business the clarity and time to gear up for new border processes is key to keeping traffic and goods moving.

RHA Chief Executive Richard Burnett said: “Government must announce when industry can expect to see what customs operating procedures will look like so firms can get on with preparing for new trading realities.

“We need the guidance to be clear and we need it immediately.”