Thu, 30 March 2023

Newsletter sign-up

Subscribe now
The House Live All
Mission Zero: Why the Skidmore Review can kickstart the nation’s journey to net zero Partner content
New guidance empowers construction clients to help drive up standards, collaboration, innovation and value Partner content
How can the UK turbocharge its ambition to be a science and technology superpower? Partner content
By Chris Hayward
Press releases

EXCL Government spent £200k putting cones on the M20 for Brexit day - and removed them a day later

EXCL Government spent £200k putting cones on the M20 for Brexit day - and removed them a day later
2 min read

The Government spent £200,000 putting out cones to turn the M20 into a lorry park in preparation for a no-deal Brexit - then took them away again a day later.

A Freedom of Information (FOI) request revealed the cost of activating Operation Brock on 28 October - three days before the UK was due to leave the EU - was £107,000.

But a further £88,000 was spent deactivating it on 29 October.

Highways England planned to put a contraflow system in place on the motorway leading down to the Kent coast so that one side of the M20 was only used by heavy goods vehicles (HGVs)

This was due to fears there would be delays with customs checks at cross-Channel ports if the UK left the EU without a deal, creating a back-log of vehicles leading from Dover.

The plan swung into action despite the fact that MPs had passed the Benn Act delaying a no-deal Brexit.

Just hours after highways officials began the process of putting out the 7,500 cones, Boris Johnson sent a letter to Brussels requesting the Article 50 deadline be extended to 31 January.

After it was accepted by the European Council, Highways England confirmed Operation Brock was being stood down.

In response to the FOI asking how much this cost they told PoliticsHome: “The costs associated with the activation of the contraflow was £107,847.22.

“Installing and removing traffic management is a significant operation and is a main consideration in any road scheme.

“In the case of Operation Brock it involved installing crossover points in the central reservation, altering the road layout and putting out 7,500 traffic cones and 350 signs.”

The further costs “associated with the deactivation of the contraflow were £88,547.12," it confirmed.

In total Highways England has been allocated £35million for the operation, £30million for the M20, and £5million assigned to adapting the nearby M26 “as an additional contingency measure”.

It was also put in place back in March ahead of the first Article 50 deadline, but was deactivated three weeks later once the extension to October 31 was agreed.

PoliticsHome Newsletters

PoliticsHome provides the most comprehensive coverage of UK politics anywhere on the web, offering high quality original reporting and analysis: Subscribe

Read the most recent article written by Alain Tolhurst - Labour Is Braced For The Prospect Of A “Game-Changer” By-Election In Scotland


Brexit Economy
Engineering a Better World

The Engineering a Better World podcast series from The House magazine and the IET is back for series two! New host Jonn Elledge discusses with parliamentarians and industry experts how technology and engineering can provide policy solutions to our changing world.

NEW SERIES - Listen now