Kent Access Permits scrapped

Neil Lancefield, PA Transport Correspondent
·2 min read

A permit required by lorry drivers entering Kent after the end of the Brexit transition period has been scrapped.

The Department for Transport also announced that a moveable barrier installed on the M20 will be dismantled over the weekend.

The traffic management measures were introduced in Kent amid fears that the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union could lead to disruption for cross-Channel trade.

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The DfT said the measures are being stood down “thanks to hauliers arriving at the border prepared”, and as freight volumes between the UK and the EU “continue to operate at normal levels”.

It cited Office for National Statistics (ONS) data showing exports to the EU increased by £3.7 billion – or 46.6% – in February.

But that followed a record slump of £5.7 billion in January.

Kent Access Permits have been mandatory for EU-bound heavy goods vehicles entering Kent since January 1, following the end of the transition period.

The DfT said the scheme was “instrumental in avoiding delays at the border” by ensuring drivers had the correct documents before reaching Dover.

Compliance among non-British hauliers has been above 80% since mid-January.

Its removal will mean “less paperwork for hauliers”, the department added.

The moveable barrier was installed between Junctions 8 and 9 on the M20 for the Operation Brock contraflow system.

This means port-bound lorries can be held on the motorway, while other traffic continues to flow in both directions.

The barrier will be stored on the hard shoulder in case it is required in the future.

Assistant Chief Constable Nikki Faulconbridge of Kent Police, who chairs the Kent Resilience Forum, said: “With freight volumes back to normal, customs rules better understood and Covid-19 testing sites now well-established across the UK, the time is right for the Operation Brock contraflow to be removed.”

She added: “We will continue to monitor traffic levels closely over the weeks and months to come, including during an expected increase when tourists are once again allowed to access Kent’s ports, to ensure any emerging issues are suitably addressed.”

Kent County Council’s senior highways manager Toby Howe said: “Operation Brock was a key part of our traffic management plan to keep Kent moving in the weeks immediately after the end of the EU transition period. It worked well and got the job done.”