Seven-mile lorry queues as Storm Gareth hits Channel ferry crossings
A queue of lorries around seven miles long has formed on a major motorway after severe weather disrupted cross-Channel ferry crossings.
A section of the M20 in Kent has been closed as part of traffic management measure Operation Stack which queues lorries waiting for space on ferries and Eurotunnel crossings.
P&O Ferries said its Dover-Calais sailings were delayed by up to 90 minutes and warned that "weather conditions are likely to worsen into late afternoon".
Storm Gareth has brought strong gales and heavy rain to large parts of the UK.
In recent days, there have also been long queues in Calais as French customs officials at the port and Eurotunnel terminal carry out industrial action as they demand more pay and resources.
They have been working to rule by carrying out more stringent checks than normal in an attempt to demonstrate the impact of tighter border controls after Brexit.
The section of the M20 between Junction 8 (Maidstone services) and Junction 9 (Ashford) has been closed for Operation Stack.
Road Haulage Association chief executive Richard Burnett said: "This will ease the flow of traffic into Dover as a result of bad weather causing delays to cross-Channel traffic.
"But if we leave the EU without a deal and the authorities on the French side use Kent roads as a traffic filter, the repercussions for Kent residents and business could be disastrous."
Depending on the number of lorries queuing, the closure of the M20 can be extended to Junction 11.
Marston airfield can be used as a lorry park in extreme cases.
Please be aware that #OpStack is now in the process of being implemented. This will affect the #M20 eastbound (coast-bound) between J8 and J9. For full information on what this involves, please see the link on @kentpoliceroads 's tweet below.https://t.co/5xHDDr7zsv— Highways England (@HighwaysSEAST) March 13, 2019
Highways England has been carrying out work on the M20 in preparation for potential post-Brexit delays.
Under Operation Brock, lorries travelling to mainland Europe will be held on the M20 while a contraflow system will aim to minimise the impact on people travelling within Kent.