Traffic standstill at A299 Thanet Way and Spitfire Way as lorry drivers’ protest

Standstill this morning Photo Steve Carley

Queues are forming on the A299 Thanet Way  and Hengist Way and lorries are backed up to the Minster roundabout with the road between Minster and Jentex closed and blocked reportedly due to a lorry drivers’ protest this morning (December 23).

Around 100 freight drivers are said to be blocking the route. Extra police patrols are being called in to deal with the chaos.


Laundry Road is also blocked with HGVs, bringing traffic to a standstill in both directions.

The road is closed at Spitfire Way by the airfield holding and checking area.

Photo Mark Cornwell

Delays are increasing on A299 Eastbound between A253 (Monkton Roundabout) and B2190 Minster Road (Minster Roundabout).

Police, nurses and NHS Track and Trace teams are reportedly stuck in the jam.

Photo Gary Mills

There are around 2,200 freight vehicles currently parked at the Manston airfield due to the closure of the UK-French border. The border reopened from midnight last night but drivers need a negative lateral flow covid test result before they can travel.

Drivers at the Manston holding site are said to have broken down perimeter fencing before blocking the road.

Testing is being carried out at the site which means freight drivers are also arriving from Dover in order to get the all-clear so they can make the Channel crossing. The need to travel from Dover is said to have caused anger among driver stuck by the port and scuffles with police have been reported.

A Kent Police spokesperson said: “Kent Police received reports in the morning of Wednesday 23 December of disturbances involving individuals in both Dover and at the DfT-run lorry holding facility at Manston who are hoping to cross the Channel.

“One man has been arrested for obstructing a highway in Dover and remains in custody.

“Officers on the ground at both locations are working with partner agencies to make sure those hoping to travel to the continent adhere to the latest Government travel requirements regarding Covid testing.

“Kent Police continues to work with partner agencies to make sure those hoping to cross the Channel are informed of the latest procedures and requirements.”

Tensions rising as Manston airport site reaches freight holding capacity


  1. Been stuck in it you cant blame the lorry drivers I feel sorry for them. Plus they are letteing ambulance through

  2. Am I also correct that a motorcyclist has been knocked off his bike which is contributing to the build up of traffic significantly??? Maybe a full report would explain the traffic build up more accurately…..

  3. Unfortunate but understandable, I suppose.

    The lorry drivers must be so used to just happily driving all over Europe without any border hold-ups. Like driving from Wales into England , or Kent into Sussex. Completely sensible.
    Then they come to Brexitland and they are suddenly trapped!
    Convenient to blame the French, of course, but 50 other countries are also banning travel from Britain for health reasons so it’s pointless trying to explain the blockage by talking about the Brexit negotiations. Are India or South Africa involved in Brexit? THEY are also banning travel from Britain.

    Perhaps we have to be grateful that the EU as a whole has pressed for a quick resolution but I won’t hold my breath waiting for the admission that the EU, combining lots of countries together for mutual benefit, is a very useful organisation! In Brexitland that wouldn’t be “politically correct”, would it?

    • So who precisely has prevented the lorries from crossing the channel? My understanding is its the french directly and that numerous other countries don’t want travellers from the uk, all down to the latest covid panic. Are any of these restrictions directly related to brexit? Or are the tenuous links made by both sides just a bit of political opportunism?

      The new strain has alledgedly been around since september , so whilst the uk may (or may not be the hotspot) it beggars belief to think that its not already all over europe and beyond.

    • First, this has bugger all to do with Brexit.
      Second. It is the French that have exercised their National rights and SHUT THEIR BORDER..
      Why don’t you stop telling porkies and stop stirring the poo?

      • We are still accepting and France is still sending trucks from France. We need to close our borders, and flights in and out of UK from every country, put the trucks on the ferry’s and the French can test them when they get there.

      • Yeah, Macron is such a dick looking after his own people, securing his own borders like it is a sovereign country or something..

  4. Can someone tell me what arrangements have been made if one of the EU drivers caught up in this fiaco caused by Mr Macron and the French have the misfortune to have a positive Covid test

  5. They must be feeling desperate to be protesting. I’m wondering what’s going on at Manston that we’re not hearing about. Presumably just a lot of uncertainty with no clear end in sight with a sprinkling of poor planning and infrastructure. They’re saying the contract for Manston wasn’t due to begin until 1st January due to brexit but that was leaving it a bit last minute. Surely they weren’t relying on getting everything beautifully up and running with mobile shower blocks etc in a week’s time with Xmas and a pandemic in the way. Flying by the seat of their pants by the sound of it.

    Christmas Eve is the day the rest of northern Europe and Eastern Europe celebrates (it’s only really us that does Xmas day itself) so a lot of them know they wont be with their families on the big day tomorrow. My step dad is a long haul trucker and for these guys who have kids back home it’s soul destroying knowing how disappointed their children will be. The financial rewards are good but quality family time is rare for truckers so they’ll be feeling pretty wretched right now. I know how it feels as a child to only have your dad around Xmas day but not the rest of the Christmas period/ rest of the year so my heart goes out to them all.

  6. Why couldnt the lorrys get into manston this morning ?

    Coming up from the monkton roundabout the left turn at minster was blocked with a police van only letting Van’s and cars through. The signposts telling HGV to us the left hand lane to turn left when they get there they cant turn left, so couldnt get into manston, is manston now shut to new arrivals ?

    No wonder the lorry drivers are so fed up, England cant organisation a p*as up in a brewery

  7. Philip – apparently if they test positive they then have to have the “proper” test (more reliable one) whilst self-isolating in their can for 24 hours. Once texted the result they either go on their way if negative or if positive they get taken to a “covid safe hotel”. Maybe premier Inn or Holiday Inn? Would be interesting to know.

  8. 2000 lorries!! The runway is 9000 feet long and they are 20 lorries across, take in to account the aprons etc and there are closer to 4000 parked up

  9. If Hancock hadn’t panicked and claimed that the pandemic was out of control, a lot of this could have been avoided.
    The French are not alone and its no use blaming them for our own inadequacies.
    KCC claimed that Manston was standing by and ready to receive trucks, well clearly it wasn’t. The RAF had thoughtfully provided a tarmac apron to park trucks on,but beyond that nothing was done.
    If I were PM, I would make the entire workforce at KCC Highways, Highways England and the DFT, work until the last truck leaves our shores and if that means they miss out on the miserable Christmas the Govt had given to the nation, that would be just too bad.
    Was this situation foreseeable ? Yes!
    Could preparations have been made beforehand? Yes!
    Were the arrangements made on the ground adequate? No !
    President Macron + the French nation had nothing to do with how we organise ourselves.
    If we truly want to take back control, we should think ahead and prepare for it, not sit on our backsides and blame someone else.

    • Living only half a mile from manston airport and driving through it every day I can assure you that this site has been ready for this for months. Toilets, food etc may have been a last minute rush but I don’t suppose they were expecting France to close the border at 10pm sunday night ! Maybe a bit of commonsense is required.

  10. Who would have thought that setting up a camp where you force people into, starve them of food & water, tell those kind local businesses & groups looking to donate food & water to get lost as we are taking care of it even though they aren’t, give them a very limited number of toilets & apparently no running water would go down so badly? Sounds more like 1945 than 2020.

    • Steve

      Agree its mind blowing how piss poor the organisation of England is. It’s a National disgrace the way the Tories have handle this.
      Why weren’t the army used to build a camp ? With hot food and water.
      Tories dont give a toss about the working classes, let them all miss Christmas, sit on an old airfield with sod all facilities.
      This country should be ashamed of the Tories. So angry about this

      • Mr X – this is clearly the downside to a democracy. The majority that could be bothered voted the Tories in.

        However, how would Labour, Liberals, Greens or whoever have averted all this ?

      • If the Tories don’t give a toss about starving kids, they aren’t going to care too much about starving British or foreign truckers.

  11. So if there are 4000 lorries, each With 1 driver. So 4000 people
    Rate of positive infection is 1 in 120(0.833%). So 33 will test positive Soooo low in comparison to spread overall why didn’t Macron just let them all drive home for Christmas and ask them all to please take a Covid test

  12. Peter, if Manston was a cargo hub we’d have these problems daily with lorry gridlock.

    Admittedly we wouldn’t have protest, but we’d be rammed with lorries.

    Luckily for us all the DCO was quashed.

    • We wouldn’t have thousands of lorries at once, as there wouldn’t be room for the planes to take off and land…

      I’m neither pro or anti airport (I can see both sides of the argument), but it’s ludicrous to state that it would be this bad all the time.

    • Have they really quashed it? I thought it was just put on hold to give the Council or whoever to restate their case in the ‘proper way’?

  13. How would you suppose 10,000 freight flights would transport their goods? One flight every 12 minutes requires a whole lot of lorries……

    Still, it got quashed, so we can all breathe a sigh of relief and clean air!

  14. Yes that’s blame the french not the millions of dickheads in England who ignored the guidelines, never wore a mask, broke the guidelines every day, the kids in towns who should have been in school or self isolating. The hugging and kissing and shaking hands wishing each other merry Christmas Or the government for allowing schools to be super spreaders etc etc. Yea I blame the french !!

    All the french did was close their borders to try and keep put the new strand of covid19 out because britains cant be trusted to follow guidelines. What’s wrong with that ?

  15. Blame throwing is absurd. Covid is a global issue with Mr Macron having it currently and seen shaking hands.

    Adherence to, or not, of the rules is the same the world over.

  16. I can understand the drivers Anger that are parked at manston but they need to remember that it wasn’t the uk That shut the border it was the french

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