Kent's emergency and health services are continuing to work together to assist drivers caught up in Operation Stack on the M20
Following consultation with partner agencies, Kent Police is in the process of implementing phase 4 of Op Stack which will run between junctions 8 and 11 coastbound. It is effectively an extension of phase 2.
Phase 3 remains in place, with lorries queued up between junctions 8 and 9 Londonbound. There is heavy congestion on surrounding roads and non-freight traffic is advised to avoid the M20 and find alternative routes.
Kent County Council staff have now provided 7,000 two-litre bottles of water and over 700 snack meals with more due to be handed out at regular intervals to those most in need over the next 24 hours. Help has also been provided by KCC Community Wardens, the Red Cross and three voluntary sector vehicles who were commissioned by KCC, to attend certain nearby locations off the motorway and deliver tea, coffee and snacks.
While KCC has led the collection of provisions, Kent Police and Kent Fire and Rescue Service, with support of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, have been distributing them along the closed stretches of M20.
Kent Fire and Rescue Service would like to reassure people that resources are strategically located around the county to enable them to remain fully operational during this challenging time for the county.
Anyone intending to travel across the Channel is advised to check the latest traffic conditions and advice from their operator before setting out. All main routes leading to the coast are likely to be much busier than normal and severe disruption is likely.
Freight drivers entering Stack will not immediately need any welfare provided, depending on weather conditions and they are urged to ensure they are properly self-equipped with food and water before setting out on their journey.
Motorists are advised to avoid the area and the following guidance applies to drivers across the county:
- if possible carry a cold box with plenty of water and drink plenty of cold fluids to ensure everyone remains hydrated
- avoid tea or coffee and alcohol
- keep your vehicle ventilated to avoid drowsiness
- make sure that babies, children, elderly people or animals are not left alone in stationary cars
- to cool down sprinkle water over the skin or clothing, or keep a damp cloth on the back of your neck
- be alert and call the health services if someone is unwell or further help is needed
- danger symptoms to watch out for in hot weather include: feeling faint and dizzy, shortness of breath, vomiting or increasing confusion
- check the weather forecast and any high temperature health warnings at:www.metoffice.gov.uk
There are particular impacts on William Harvey Hospital in Ashford and the Buckland Hospital in Dover with both staff and patients experiencing problems getting to and from the hospital. To relieve pressure on the hospitals and avoid lengthy journeys NHS England are urging people to consider which is the most appropriate place to go to get help for their health needs.
People should call NHS 111 if they need medical help, but it’s not a life-threatening emergency. For less urgent health needs, they should contact their GP or local pharmacist in the usual way. For immediate, life-threatening emergencies they should always call 999. To find your nearest health service and to check your symptoms visit the NHS Choices website. Patients who have an appointment at either the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford or the Buckland Hospital in Dover should allow plenty of extra time to get to their appointment. Public Health England are also reminding residents across the county on how to keep safe during the continued heatwave with the following advice:
- try to keep out of the sun between 11am to 3pm
- apply sunscreen of at least SPF15 with UVA protection
- wear UV sunglasses, preferably wraparound, to reduce UV exposure to the eyes
- wear light, loose-fitting cotton clothes, a hat and light scarf
- drink lots of cool drinks
- look out for others especially vulnerable groups such as older people, young children and babies and those with serious illnesses
- never leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle, especially infants, young children or animals
For further information on staying safe in hot weather visit Kent County Council’s website.
For the most up-to-date information:
- check Highways England’s website
- visit the Kent Police Twitter page
- listen to local tv and radio stations for updates around Kent
Members of the public should contact the Highways England customer contact centre on 0300 123 5000.
Journalists should contact the Highways England press office on 0844 693 1448 and use the menu to speak to the most appropriate press officer.