Kent traffic management on M20 motorway to Dover and Eurotunnel

Measures to manage traffic flow on Kent’s road network in the event of severe disruption to services across the English Channel.

Operation Stack

Operation Stack is a procedure that uses parts of the M20 to queue lorries travelling towards the continent, to avoid causing gridlock across Kent’s roads.

It is used in emergency situations when crossings to the continent cannot happen, such as bad weather or industrial action.

Kent Police are responsible for implementing Operation Stack

Operation Brock

Operation Brock is a traffic management system designed to keep Kent’s roads open if there is disruption at the Port of Dover and Eurotunnel. 

When Operation Brock is in force HGVs travelling to Port of Dover and Eurotunnel must use the signed routes only. Enforcement officials will be deployed to intercept vehicles trying to use alternative routes. Drivers who are caught will be turned around and risk a £300 fine.

Signs, diversions, and speed restrictions will be in place to help drivers reach designated holding areas. 

Kent Police take decisions on when to use the different phases of the system, depending on the scale of any disruption. Options include: 

A20 Dover TAP

A queuing system which holds lorries until space becomes available at the port. 

M20 moveable barrier

A concrete barrier than can be deployed quickly between junctions 8 and 9 of the M20 to install a contraflow. HGVs bound for Dover and/or Eurotunnel will be held on the coastbound carriageway.

Manston Airfield

An off-road site designed to hold traffic heading for the Port of Dover. Border readiness checks will take place here to ensure hauliers have the correct paperwork.

Ashford Sevington inland border facility

An off-road site next to junction 10A of the M20, likely to be used if the M20 contraflow approaches capacity.

Map of Operation Brock traffic management sites.

Driver welfare

Drivers travelling through Kent in early 2021 should be aware that there is potential for disruption in the event of delays at the border.

Plan your journey to ensure you take breaks and overnight rest periods before entering Kent. This will minimise the risk of hitting drivers’ hours limits.

Find out about motorway service areas along your route.

Make sure you have enough food and water in case of delays at the border. Welfare will be available for drivers stuck in stationary queues for extended periods of time. 

If required, there is a pre-agreed plan to relax drivers’ hours to assist with congestion.

Check an HGV is ready to cross the border

Hauliers travelling to the Port of Dover or Eurotunnel need to use the Check an HGV is ready to cross the border service to:

  • get a Kent Access Permit
  • check they have the right EU import and commodities documents for the goods they are carrying

All HGVs that are travelling to the EU via the Short Straits will need to have a valid Kent Access Permit, whether they are carrying goods or not. If an HGV is empty or carrying post, the driver should still declare this on the Check an HGV is ready to cross the border service and obtain a valid Kent Access Permit.

You can be fined £300 if you do not use the Check an HGV is ready to cross the border service when you travel via the Port of Dover or Eurotunnel, or if you provide a fraudulent declaration.

Hauliers making local journeys, or travelling within Kent, will not require a Kent Access Permit.

Published 30 January 2020
Last updated 14 December 2020 + show all updates
  1. Updated information about driver welfare.

  2. Added extra detail about Operation Brock.

  3. Additional enforcement powers under Operation Brock plus information on Check an HGV is ready to cross the border service.

  4. Future traffic management information updated.

  5. First published.