From tonight (Monday 19 November) until Friday 21 December, Kent’s M26 motorway - one of the UK’s busiest routes for hauliers heading towards, and returning from mainland Europe - will be closed from 10pm until 5.30pm the following morning, Monday to Thursday (inclusive). On Friday nights work will take place between 11pm and 6am.
These closures form part of Government’s post-Brexit contingency plan which includes preparing this particular section of motorway as a potential lorry park if port-bound freight traffic needs to be managed as a result of disruption and delays at Dover and Eurotunnel.
Commenting, RHA chief executive Richard Burnett said: “This diversion will mean vehicles having to travel an extra 10 miles around the M25 to meet the M20 south-bound. It also includes what we consider to be a very bizarre route to enable traffic to get back onto the M20 and we are still waiting for clarification as to the reasoning behind this.
Over 10,000 lorries head either towards or from Dover each day. 50% of those would probably use the southern section of the M25 so the likelihood of holdups as a result of 5,000 trucks creating a bottleneck are considerable.
Concluding, Richard Burnett said: “Brexit has been a reality since the original vote to leave the EU was taken in June 2016. The whole point of a contingency plan is to prepare for the worst. But with only 130 days to go until we leave the EU, why on earth is this work being left until the last minute? For a haulage operator, time is money and every penny has to count. Hitting them with additional financial burdens at a time when Christmas deliveries are being planned means that any potential profits will be wiped out by the additional running costs this diversion will create.”