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        21 December, 2020

        Government prepares Manston to help manage disruption at Ports

        At 11pm on Sunday 20 December, the French Government announced that it will not accept any passengers arriving from the UK for a period of 48 hours. As a result, the Port of Dover and Channel Tunnel are closed.

        Operation Stack was initially implemented on the coastbound carriageway of the M20 between Junctions 8 and 11. See more information from KCC. This has now been replaced with Operation Brock as part of a plan to keep traffic moving on the M20. It involves using a contraflow road layout on the M20 London-bound carriageway between junctions 9 and 8 (from Ashford to Maidstone) and directing lorries heading for mainland Europe onto the coastbound carriageway, where they can be queued if necessary. Operation Brock opens up more of the road network in Kent because it means traffic can continue to move in both directions on the M20.

        In addition, the Department for Transport announced it had prepared Manston to support the KRF’s (Kent Resilience Forum) plans to manage disruption following the French announcement on travel.

        Although the Manston airport site has been set up to accommodate up to 4,000 lorries, the current message to all hauliers and wider travellers is to avoid heading to Kent Ports (including the Eurotunnel) entirely until further notice.

        The Manston airport site has been earmarked by the Government as a temporary, back-up lorry holding facility in preparation for possible disruption over the Short Straits at the end of the EU transition period. The proposed use of the site is for a period of six months up to the end of June 2021.

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