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Preparing for the UK exiting the European Union (EU)

As Britain prepares to leave the EU there are likely to be changes to the way people and goods cross the Channel via Dover and the Channel Tunnel.

The precise nature of these changes is not yet known and depends on the final deal negotiated between the UK government and Brussels. 

It is likely however, that this will entail new border control arrangements on both sides of the Channel which may extend the time it takes to process cross-Channel traffic. This in turn has the potential to cause disruption on Kent’s road network as traffic waits to be processed.

How is the Kent Resilience Forum helping Kent to prepare for exiting the EU

The Kent Resilience Forum (KRF) is currently reviewing plans and capabilities to ensure that partner organisations are ready to respond as required.

The KRF is planning for a wide range of contingencies, including the welfare of those who may be delayed in queues for long periods of time, working proactively with the Department for Transport and Highways England on plans to manage any traffic disruption on Kent's roads.

These plans focus on the specific aim of keeping the M20 motorway open to traffic and to minimise disruption for local residents and businesses.Contingency plans are also being developed for additional traffic holding areas at the former Manston Airport in Thanet and the M26 motorway in West Kent under a worst case scenario in which additional capacity is required to hold heavy goods vehicle (HGV) traffic.

Partners will continue to work together to anticipate the potential issues and develop plans to mitigate the impact on Kent’s communities.

Latest update: July 2019

While there remains a level of uncertainly around the details of the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union (EU), the Kent Resilience Forum (KRF) continues to work closely with the Department for Transport and other agencies to prepare for a range of potential outcomes, including the event of no-deal exit and traffic disruption on Kent’s roads.

KRF partners have developed contingency plans to ensure the M20 motorway can be kept open to traffic and that disruption for local residents, businesses and other road users is kept to a minimum. The priority is to keep people safe and the county moving.

The KRF is working with a wide range of partner organisations to keep communities and businesses in Kent and Medway informed and prepared for the potential impacts of a no-deal Brexit. The Forum is also planning for a wide range of other contingencies, including the welfare of vulnerable communities and those who may be delayed in queues for a long period of time.  

Businesses who travel and trade within the European Union are being urged to act now to ensure appropriate preparations are in place for possible changes to border control and customs arrangements at the UK ports when the UK leaves the EU, to help minimise potential disruption. For further advice on the steps that businesses may need to take to become ‘border ready’ follow the guidance here:

Over the coming months, the KRF will continue to work closely with central government and refine its plans as necessary and keep the communities of Kent and Medway informed.

Download the Kent Resilience Forum EU exit contingency plans here:

Kent Resilience Forum Brexit contingency plan

Operation Brock

Operation Brock is the name for a package of measures aimed at helping to improve the resilience of the roads in Kent to the effects of cross-channel disruption. As well as the M20 contraflow it also includes Manston Airfield and the M26.

Highways England has worked in close partnership with Kent Police, Kent County Council and the Department for Transport to ensure that each phase of Operation Brock could be deployed sequentially and scaled up or down to meet demand.

For latest updates about Operation Brock visit the Highways England website.

Travel Advice

Keep updated with the latest local travel information on Twitter:

Kent County Council Highways on Twitter

Highways England South East

Port of Dover travel news on Twitter

Eurotunnel on Twitter 

How can Kent residents and businesses start preparing?

There are still a number of uncertainties around as to the outcome of Brexit negotiations, however businesses and local communities need to look at what contingency plans they may need to put in place to prepare for the UK exiting the EU. The Government is coordinating advice to businesses and has provided the following links.

Useful Links:

Guidance from the Department for Exiting the European Union:

This covers advice for:

Local guidance:

Journey planning:

  • Check before your travel to ensure you can complete your journey.

  • Allow extra travel time and consider alternative routes to your destination in the event of a hold up.

  • If using public transport check for any changes to the service that could affect your journey.

  • Ensure you take extra food and water, and any prescription medication that may be needed, in the event that your journey is delayed.


In the event of a no-deal EU exit we anticipate that some communities may experience disruption to local road networks. We are working with local authorities to anticipate and minimise any impact this may have and are encouraging residents to consider how they can build their own resilience:

  • Residents are encouraged to develop household contingency plans and to put plans in place to ensure they are prepared in the event of an emergency or any likely disruption. 

  • Check your local Borough / District council website and social media channels for localised advice and updates about local services.

  • Tune into local radio and social media channels for updates, guidance and safety messages/ advice.

Health and social care provision:

The Kent Resilience Forum is working closely with health and social care providers as well as emergency services partners to plan for and mitigate a wide range of possible outcomes and impacts relating to disruption due to a no-deal EU exit.

These services have an excellent track record of continuing to deliver services in challenging, or unusual circumstances, such as traffic disruption, issues at ports and severe weather scenarios.

Advice has been developed for situations that could affect the delivery of health care services in potentially isolated communities and the Kent and Medway Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP) has been preparing, planning and testing arrangements to ensure health services continue to run smoothly after the UK exits the EU. Visit NHS England for information on preparing for Brexit.

UK residents planning to travel to the EU:

  • UK citizens should check their passports, as they may need to be renewed earlier than planned to ensure they are valid for travel in the EU – can be checked online at

  • If planning to drive in the EU check on whether you need to apply for an international driving licence.

Advice for EU residents living in the UK:

The Home Office released guidance on Leave to Remain and the rights of EU citizens in the event of a no-deal EU Exit:


The Government is coordinating advice to businesses 

General advice for businesses:

Even if your organisation does not have an up-to-date business continuity plan, it’s essential that you run through business continuity processes in the run-up to Brexit. Any consideration of business continuity should focus on the likely prolonged disruption and potential congestion that could result from Britain leaving the EU with no deal.

  • Check your business continuity plans to mitigate possible disruption.

  • Consider any risks to your supply chains.

  • Consider any changes to tariffs and arrangements for export and imports of goods and services.

  • Make contingency plans for keeping your business operating.

Further help for businesses:

The Federation of Small Businesses has developed a Small Business Brexit Pack

Kent County Council business guidance

Guidance and information from our partners:

Dover District Council information about leaving the EU:

Kent County Council information on Britain leaving the European Union

Thanet District Council EU exit guidance:

Ashford Borough Council EU exit guidance:

Folkestone and Hythe District Council guidance on preparing for the UK's exit from the EU:

Other links:

The Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) issued guidance on healthcare for UK residents visiting the European Union, European Economic Area and Switzerland in the event of a no-deal Brexit:

The government has also produced a partnership pack: preparing for changes at the UK border after a no deal EU exit:

HM Revenue and Customs has issues guidance on trading with the EU if the UK leaves without a deal on 29 March:

NHS England information on preparing for Brexit:

The Department for Education (DfE) issued several sector notices on no deal preparation for the following education providers:

Note: The Kent Resilience Forum is not responsible for the content or accuracy of any third-party website or social media channel.

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