A series of measures aimed at keeping a Kent motorway moving in the event of a no-deal Brexit were put into force today just hours before the UK was granted an extension.
Operation Brock came into force at 6am on the M20, with the plans designed to keep traffic flowing in both directions in case there is any disruption to services across the English Channel.
As part of the measures, lorries heading for Europe will face a 30mph limit on a 13-mile stretch of the motorway’s coastbound carriage.
All other traffic on the motorway – including lorries carrying out UK deliveries – are required to use a 50mph contraflow of two lanes in each direction on the London-bound side of the road.
The scheme also includes several holding areas to park lorries are also available to be activated if required, including at Manston Airfield.
Hauliers must be ready to show they have the correct paperwork before reaching the border or face being turned back.
Drivers have been warned to allow for extra travel time and to make sure they have food and water in their vehicles in case of delays.
Highways England south east operations director Nicola Bell said Operation Brock was part of a set of measures 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,” she said in a statement.
Operation Brock was initially deployed on 25 March, four days ahead of the first planned Brexit date.
It was deactivated about three weeks later following the delay to the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, but the steel barriers for the contraflow system and 50mph speed limit remain in place.
According to the Highways England, the current operation “will be kept under continual review” and “will be stood down when it is no longer needed”.
Additional reporting from PA.