Brexit news: Operation Brock emergency traffic measures will be made permanent, Dft confirms | United Kingdom | New
But shadow transport secretary Jim McMahon of Labor called the decision a “confession of failure” which showed “contempt for the people of Kent”. The announcement means that the implementation of a traffic reconfiguration to the M20 can continue beyond its current deadline of October 31 once changes are made to the law after MPs return from their vacation. summer.
The Department of Transport (DfT) said the change, which comes after a consultation, would allow Operation Brock to be used to respond to “any kind of traffic disruption in the region” and not just that related to the exit of Great Britain from the European Union.
Traffic management measures have been introduced in Kent amid fears that the UK’s withdrawal from the EU could disrupt cross-Channel trade.
Access permits from Kent – where truck drivers had to obtain a permit before entering the county – and Operation Brock were among the nationally deployed mitigation measures.
A movable barrier – which the DfT announced in April would be dismantled and stored on the emergency lane if needed in the future – has been installed between Junctions 8 and 9 on the motorway to the counter-current system of the operation.
Legislation relating to Operation Brock Legislation was first put in place in 2019 for a possible divorce without a Brussels agreement, updated in 2020 before the end of the transition period, and again in 2021 in response to the closure of the French border due to fears. on the variant of the Alpha coronavirus originating in the United Kingdom – formerly known as the Kent mutation.
Ministers undertook a consultation in May and June to seek advice on proposals to “integrate Operation Brock into a long-term sustainable traffic management plan”, which would involve the removal of existing sunset clauses that would otherwise have meant that the legislation would have expired in November.
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The terms of the consultation said the change would mean Operation Brock could continue to be used “in the future as an emergency traffic management measure in the event of a disruption” – a move the ministry said prompted a positive response “.
As a result, regulatory texts – legal changes that do not require the introduction of new laws – stripping the law of its sunset clauses will be tabled in Parliament next month and will be debated in both Commons and Lords, officials said.
A spokesperson for the Department of Transport said: “Operation Brock measures will remain temporary and will only be used when there is a significant risk of delays.
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“While Operation Brock was originally created to deal with the disruption caused by leaving the EU and in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the removal of the sunset clauses from Operation Brock will mean that the Kent Resilience Forum (KRF) is better prepared to respond to any kind of traffic disruption in the region, not just related to leaving the EU, including strikes and inclement weather. “
Mr McMahon, MP for Oldham West and Royton, who is himself the son of a truck driver, said: working with locals over the past 18 months to put in place a better program.
“Operation Brock has proven to be unpopular locally and making an announcement in the hope that no one notices shows complete disregard for the concerns of locals in Kent.
“Ministers are to explain whether they have considered other options and what mitigation measures they will put in place to reduce disruption to local communities. “
In October last year, the DfT released a document titled Proposals for Legislative Amendments on the Implementation of Operation Brock.
In his preface to the report, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “Our underlying goal in all of this work will be to allow trade in goods to continue to flow smoothly between the UK and the EU.
“But this will be a time of significant change, and at least initially there is a risk of additional friction at the border, especially if goods arrive without completing necessary customs and other formalities.”
He added, “It is therefore important that we put plans in place both to minimize the risk of disruption and to mitigate its impact should it occur.
“And of course we have to focus particularly in this context on the Strait, given the volume of traffic moving both on the ferries leaving Dover and through the Channel Tunnel.”