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.

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Storm Gareth
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Storm Gareth
A section of the M20 in Kent has been closed as part of traffic management measure Operation Stack.
A section of the M20 in Kent has been closed as part of traffic management measure Operation Stack.
Huge waves slap against the harbour wall as spectators watch from rocks out into the sea at Porthcawl, Wales, where heavy rain and strong winds have been causing travel disruption in several parts of the UK as Storm Gareth moves east.
Huge waves slap against the harbour wall as spectators watch from rocks out into the sea at Porthcawl, Wales, where heavy rain and strong winds have been causing travel disruption in several parts of the UK as Storm Gareth moves east.
BLACKPOOL - MARCH 12: A photographer dodges a wave in the winds of Storm Gareth and the high tide at Blackpool on March 12, 2019 in Blackpool, United Kingdom. The Met Office has issued yellow warnings as Storm Gareth is forecast to bring potentially disruptive wet and windy weather which could cause travel delays and power cuts. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
Ben was 'terrified and cold' when found by an Inverness Coastguard helicopter crew on a training exercise.
A windsurfer during the Red Bull Storm Chase Challenge at Magheraroarty in Co. Donegal ahead of Storm Gareth.
A windsurfer during the Red Bull Storm Chase Challenge at Magheraroarty in Co. Donegal ahead of Storm Gareth. (Photo by Liam McBurney/PA Images via Getty Images)
A car drives through a rain puddle in Westminster in London as Storm Gareth sweeps across the country.
Waves crash onto cars on the harbour arm at the Port of Dover in Kent as Storms Gareth sweeps across the country.
Pedestrians use umbrellas to shield from the rain Westminster, London as Storm Gareth sweeps across the country.
A ferry arrives at the Port of Dover in Kent as bad weather causes ferry delays.
Waves crash against the sea defences in Camber, East Sussex, as the unsettled and windy weather continues across the UK.
Waves crash against the sea defences in Camber, East Sussex, as the unsettled and windy weather continues across the UK.
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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.

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.

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