Kent lorry queue down to 180 vehicles after border closure

Kent lorry queue down to 180 vehicles after border closure

Fewer than 200 lorry drivers are waiting to cross to France after thousands had queued over Christmas, the Department for Transport says.

Hauliers had to wait to cross the Channel after France closed the border on 20 December following a UK alert over a new Covid-19 variant.

By Sunday night, 180 HGVs were parked on the M20 in Kent, the DFT said.

It also said there were now fewer than 15 lorries parked at the Manston Airport site.

Transport minister Robert Courts said there was more to do, but progress had been made.

Traffic flow systems used during cross-Channel disruption came into force over the last week, including Operations Brock and Stack, where lorries queue on the M20 and use lorry parks, including the site at Manston.

At one stage, about 5,000 lorries were waiting at Manston Airport and hundreds of military personnel were deployed to help clear the backlog.

Mr Courts said: “There’s still more to do but with progress made on clearing the Manston site and work on getting hauliers holding in Operations Brock and Stack moving, there is light at the end of the tunnel.”

Drivers must now show proof of a Covid-19 negative test before they can enter France from the UK.

By Sunday, 17,988 tests had been carried out.

Volunteers and organisations including HM Coastguard, Kent County Council and the Road Haulage Association (RHA) delivered meals and water to drivers, and Tesco and Eddie Stobart Logistics provided food parcels.

RHA chief executive Richard Burnett said: “Nothing can compare to spending Christmas with the family. These drivers have been denied that through no fault of their own.”

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