Photo credits @ Highways England (illustrative purposes only)

Logistics UK calls for permanent end to Operation Brock traffic system

With the upcoming half-term holiday expected to cause travel delays and congestion at UK Channel ports, business group Logistics UK is urging the government to find a permanent alternative to the current Operation Brock traffic management scheme.

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Operation Brock, originally designed as a temporary measure in case of a no-deal Brexit, uses a contraflow system on the M20 motorway in Kent to keep traffic moving during disruptions at the English Channel. However, Logistics UK argues that the scheme, which will be deployed again this weekend at a cost of thousands to local taxpayers, disrupts the flow of goods and creates unacceptable working conditions for haulier drivers.

“For the past seven years, the logistics industry has faced delays due to Operation Brock, with no permanent solution yet in sight,” stated Nichola Mallon, Head of Trade at Logistics UK. “Drivers stuck in queues on the M20 often lack access to basic amenities for hours – a situation not tolerated in other workplaces. These essential workers deserve better.”

Mallon revealed further concerns about the scheme’s long-term viability, particularly with the upcoming implementation of the EU’s Entry and Exit System in October 2024. “Operation Brock risks becoming a permanent fixture,” she said.

The reliance on imported food from the EU, particularly fresh produce, adds urgency to finding a solution. According to the British Retail Consortium, roughly 30% of all food consumed in the UK comes from the EU, including nearly half of fresh vegetables and most fresh fruit. This dependence can increase further during periods of bad weather in the UK.

“As an island nation, the UK depends on imports of fresh produce,” stated Mallon. “Those delivering these goods and exporting UK products deserve proper breaks away from their vehicles to ensure their well-being. A permanent solution for Operation Brock is needed urgently, before hauliers are discouraged from fulfilling UK contracts. Logistics operators need government support to ensure UK borders don’t become barriers to essential goods movement.”