Skip to page content
Projects Map


Coronavirus (COVID-19): Business briefing – 21 December 2020 [2]

‘Operation Brock’ brought forward to manage Kent traffic delays

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced he is working directly with French President Emmanuel Macron to resolve traffic delays at Dover after France blocked arrivals of UK passengers for 48 hours over concerns about the new coronavirus variant. Freight lorries cannot cross by sea or through the Eurotunnel and the Port of Dover has closed to outbound traffic.

Speaking at a Downing Street press conference, the Prime Minister assured the public that the vast majority of food and medical supplies are unaffected and said the government has been preparing for such a situation for a while and would be bringing forward measures such as the moveable barrier on the M20 and queuing areas which had been planned for the end of the EU Transition period.

“These delays are only occurring at Dover, only affect human-handled freight and that is only 20% of the total arriving from or departing to the European continent,” he said, assuring people that the vast majority of food and medical supplies are unaffected.

The Prime Minister said the government was continuing to have talks with French officials, including a direct call between the Prime Minister and French President Emmanuel Macron.”We are working with our friends across the Channel to unblock the flow of trade as fast as possible,” he said.

Transport Minister Grant Shapps said the government had been working with the Kent Resilience Force and other local authorities to minimise disruption. He said that the number of lorries queuing on the M20 had been reduced from 500 to 174 overnight, and that the government intended to bring forward some of the measures it had been planning in case of disruption at the end of the EU Transition period, including the use of the moveable barrier contraflow system, the A20 Dover TAP queuing system, and the opening of Manston Airfield.

And he pleaded with the public to ‘steer clear’ of Kent. “Most people should be staying at home, everybody in Tier 4 must at stay home and in Tier 3 stay very local,” he said. “We’re grateful also for the hauliers, the lorry drivers, for steering clear as well.”

For more information on Operation Brock and other contingency measures in Kent, visit: