The British government is going to wargame the impact of leaving the European Union on World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules on Monday, chartering dozens of articulated lorries to simulate the impact of traffic near the port of Dover.
After years of ignoring the possibility of the United Kingdom leaving the European Union fully and without a deal keeping it tied to the rules and regulations of the bloc, the British government is now apparently rushing to make preparations.
One of these is a trial by the Department of Transport to examine using the former Manston airport in Kent as a lorry park in case of congestion around the Port of Dover, one of the main points of cross-Channel traffic with Europe.
Up to 150 large trucks will be parked and released from the airfield at 0800 and 1100 Monday morning to test the utility of the site to relieve pressure on Kentish roads including the M20, which can become extremely busy when there are delays at the ferry port.
An email from the Department for Transport send to Cliffsend Parish Council reported by Kent Online said of the test: “The use of Manston airfield as an HGV holding facility is one of the traffic management measures as part of the current draft plan to alleviate congestion on Kent roads in the event of any disruption at the border.
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) July 28, 2015
“This also now includes if the UK leaves the EU without a deal, should there be any disruption… Staff will be positioned along the whole route throughout the trial to monitor flows. If required at any time, flows from Manston can be halted as needed.”
The plan is a variant of Kent Police’s Operation Stack, which uses the M20 as a giant lorry park while leaving one lane open for other traffic in the case of the Port of Dover being closed to traffic. It was activated dozens of times in 2015 when industrial action and illegal migrants congregating at the Port of Calais — from which much of Dover’s traffic flows from and to — effectively halted the flow of ships and Eurotunnel freight trains.
‘Second Dover’: UK to Reopen Ramsgate Port in No Deal Brexit Plans Boost https://t.co/Y6TKLTGGPy
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) January 4, 2019
The delays were so bad the British government even drew up plans to deploy the British Army to help control traffic in the south of England as instability in northern France prevented the free flow of trade.
As well as managing traffic in Kent to prepare for a potential resumption of border checks on trucks, the government has also handed out a number of contracts to reopen ferry routes to other ports, many of which have seen their services closed in recent years. One of those is Ramsgate, which is now being dredged to take ships carrying 3,000 lorries a day after Brexit.