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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.

Download the KRF EU exit contingency plans here: 

KRF EU exit contingency plans.pdf

Operation Brock

New measures by Highways England to improve Kent’s resilience when services across the English Channel are disrupted will be in effect from Monday 25 March (6am).

Visit this link for further information from Highways England about the new traffic system known as Operation Brock.

The measures will include a contraflow on the M20 from north of Junction 8 (for Maidstone) to Junction 9 (for Ashford):
M20, J8 to J9 coastbound: used exclusively for freight heading coastbound;

M20, J8 to J9 London-bound: used for regular traffic. Four lanes (including the hard shoulder) will be split into 2 lanes heading coastbound (regular traffic) and 2 lanes heading London-bound (regular traffic and freight).

There will be no access for regular traffic coastbound from Junction 8 of the M20; vehicles joining at this junction will need to travel London-bound to Junction 7 and turn around to join the contraflow.

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:

Information from Government:

Guidance from the Department for Exiting the European Union: https://euexit.campaign.gov.uk/

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.

Communities:

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.

More NHS England 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 www.gov.uk
  • If planning to drive in the EU check on www.gov.uk 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: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/european-temporary-leave-to-remain-in-the-uk

Businesses:

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.

The Federation of Small Businesses has developed a Small Business Brexit Pack: https://www.fsb.org.uk/standing-up-for-you/policy-issues/european-union/brexit

Kent County Council business guidance

Useful information:

Dover District Council information about leaving the EU: https://www.dover.gov.uk/Corporate-Information/Brexit/Brexit-Home-Page-Britain-leaving-the-European-Union-Brexit.aspx

Kent County Council information on Britain leaving the European Union https://www.kent.gov.uk/about-the-council/britain-leaving-the-european-union

Ashford Borough Council EU exit guidance: https://www.ashford.gov.uk/business/brexit-guidance/

Folkestone and Hythe District Council guidance on preparing for the UK's exit from the EU: https://www.folkestone-hythe.gov.uk/prepare-for-brexit

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: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/uk-residents-visiting-the-eueea-and-switzerland-healthcare

The government has also produced a partnership pack: preparing for changes at the UK border after a no deal EU exit: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/partnership-pack-preparing-for-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: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/help-and-support-for-traders-if-the-uk-leaves-the-eu-with-no-deal

NHS England information on preparing for Brexit:https://www.england.nhs.uk/eu-exit/

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

Travel Advice

Keep updated with the latest local travel information:

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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