Fewer than 90 lorries of an expected 150 are reported to have taken part in a ‘post-Brexit’ trial run from the Manston airport site today (January 7).
The run organised by the Department for Transport and Kent County Council assembled at Manston at 7am, leaving at approximately 8-8.30am, in batches of 25.
Lorries had been due to use the emergency exit by Jentex on to the Canterbury Road West but instead left the other end of the site on to the A299.
A second run will take place at 11am.
The DfT says: “The use of Manston airfield as an HGV holding facility is one of the traffic management measures as part of the current draft plan to alleviate congestion on Kent roads in the event of any disruption at the border. This also now includes if the UK leaves the EU without a deal, should there be any disruption.
“To ensure the route from Manston to Dover can safely withstand an increase in HGV traffic, we are conducting a live test. This test will establish the safest optimum release rate of HGVs from Manston airfield along the proposed route on the A256 to the Port of Dover, and how any impacts could be managed.”
The Manston airport site has been earmarked for dealing with expected backlogs in a plan from Kent County Council.
— Simon Moores (@SimonMoores) January 7, 2019
The authority used scaled-up estimates of previous Operation Stack impacts and some high-level border checking analysis undertaken by Government, These have been used to form a Traffic Management Plan to ensure Kent’s highways continue to be open.
The plan looks at the impact of queuing traffic arising from border changes following the UK’s exit from the European Union on March 29.
It has been forecast that, in a no-deal Brexit scenario, Kent will need to cope with holding up to 10,000 HGVs on a routine basis.
KCC Highways and partners have devised a dedicated ‘Freight Traffic Management Plan.’
The plan uses information from Highways England, Kent Police, KCC Highways and other agencies.
Operation Brock – the updated version of lorry queuing system Operation Stack- contains 5 phases for dealing with a backlog of HGVs. Phase 1 uses the A20 and Dover and Eurotunnel buffer zones, phase 2 is a contraflow system on the M20, phase 3 uses the A256 and sends up to 6,000 lorries to be parked up on the Manston airport site.
Phase 4 uses the M26 and phase 5 takes traffic out of the county.
The Road Haulage Association (RHA) has been asked for comment.