It is inevitable that most international haulage operators, moving goods from the UK to anywhere in the EU (except perhaps Ireland), will at some point be required to route through Kent to use either the Eurotunnel and/or Dover. Traffic management in this area has changed and there are now certain requirements which must be satisfied in order to avoid a driver incurring a £300 fine.
HGV drivers and/or haulage operators hoping to drive or send vehicles to Kent for international travel, must use the ‘Check an HGV is ready to cross the border’ service online in order to ensure that they have the appropriate documents to carry out the international movement. Using this system generates a Kent Access Permit (KAP) that should permit a driver to use the Port of Dover or the Eurotunnel. One KAP is valid for 24 hours, and applies to the one vehicle.
This is just one of the measures implemented to manage traffic in this particular area, stemming from fears that the area of Kent will become congested in light of the new ‘red tape’ and bureaucracy that comes with ‘the Deal’ and the new trading terms between the UK and the EU.
Additional measures consist of those contingency plans previously referred to as ‘Operation Brock’. There are multiple stages to Operation Brock, and each stage is designed to tackle a more severe level of congestion in Kent, and it is the Kent Police who will decide when different parts of the plan are activated.
The early phase of Brock will see traffic management in place between junctions 8 and 9 of the M20, which will enforce a requirement that HGVs hoping to use either the Port of Dover or the Eurotunnel must remain in the coastbound carriageway. Such vehicles may be held on this part of the M20 until the crossing points are cleared.
At the same time, a two-way contraflow will be brought in on the opposite carriageway for other traffic. However, certain priority vehicles, such as those carrying fish/shellfish may use this contraflow with the right paperwork. As in the case of using the allocated roads without a KAP, for a vehicle to use the contraflow without the authorisation will see the driver of that vehicle issued with a £300 fine.
If the level of congestion becomes too much for vehicles to be held on the roads, then vehicles may find themselves directed towards Manston Airport, or to Sevington, where the vehicles will be held until the area is cleared. There should be appropriate signage in place to give guidance to drivers, so that they know when they are required to take these diversions. One of the communicated messages for HGV drivers is to ensure that they have enough food and water onboard, in the event that they are held in one of these locations.
Further still, Kent County Council has introduced HGV parking bans in a number of regions, including Ashford, Canterbury and Dover via Traffic Regulation Orders. This ban does not, however, apply to drivers taking their 45-minute breaks, provided they do so in a safe location. This is something planners should be aware of and factor in when they are planning their drivers’ hours in terms of routing.
If you would like some more or more specific advice in respect of Kent and the proposed traffic management systems in force in that area, please contact Backhouse Jones Regulatory Department at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 01254 828300.