Police chiefs, politicians and port experts met to finalise contingency plans in Kent at the latest Brexit Taskforce meeting. Discussions on the impact of the UK’s scheduled departure from the EU on October 31 were held at Dover District Council’s (DDC) offices in Whitfield on Thursday (September 19).
I chaired the meeting, with DDC leader Keith Morris hosting. Also in attendance were Thanet District Council (TDC) leader Bob Bayford, Kent Police’s Head of Divisional Operations for the East Division Acting Supt Mark Weller, the Port of Dover’s Brexit chief Tim Reardon, and senior officers from DDC, TDC and Kent County Council. We agreed to press Government on enforcement measures to ensure compliance with Operation Brock, so that traffic continues to flow on local roads.
This area will play a vital role for the nation in the coming weeks and months – as it always has done. It was clear from the meeting that the Dover frontline stands ready and fully prepared. We are not in control of the French side but port chiefs there have said they have no intention of a go-slow approach – and it is not in their interest. That’s why my message is that we must now get on with it. Let’s deliver Brexit on October 31, deal or no deal, and move on.
Lorry drivers who clog up roads near the Channel ports face a £300 fine under a new permit scheme proposed by Government. The Department for Transport (DfT) is looking at regulations to ensure lorries can’t bypass traffic management queues – and that checks take place away from the border. Number plate recognition cameras will be used to enforce compliance, while traffic officers will get new powers to require drivers to present documents proving they are ready to proceed to ports. Some roads will have unrestricted access to allow movement between queues, but cross-Channel HGVs will be prohibited from using all other roads when Operation Brock is in place.
We agreed to urge Government to speed up the transfer of powers to local authority and other traffic officers ahead of Brexit – and provide enough of them to marshal the road network effectively.