This weekend saw chaos descend on Dover and Kent’s roads, with P&O’s actions compounded by bad weather affecting other sailings and then major Eurotunnel problems.
On Monday, myself, Kent County Council leader Cllr Roger Gough and Dover District Council leader Cllr Trevor Bartlett held an emergency meeting with Baroness Vere, the roads minister, in Parliament, to discuss the problems on the Kent and Dover roads.
We have been working together with Transport Ministers, the Kent Resilience Forum and the Port of Dover to tackle the traffic problems, since Friday’s severe traffic issues that lasted all weekend and are continuing.
The traffic impact was felt right across Dover – from Capel-Le-Ferne, Aycliffe through Dover town and Whitfield. It also impacted right across Kent, affecting the vital trading corridors on both the M20 and M2 through to the Short Straits crossing routes.
At the meeting on Monday, we made it clear that the traffic response this weekend was too slow and that Kent roads were being put into emergency measures too often. The Roads Minister committed to review Dover TAP and the Kent-wide traffic response following the weekend of traffic chaos.
Once again the events of the last few days have highlighted the need for more road capacity and better traffic management for Dover. It is welcome that the Minister has agreed to review the operational performance of these emergency measures given their severe impact on local residents.
This was an important urgent meeting with the Roads Minister about keeping Dover clear and the importance of investment for our local roads.
Cllr Roger Gough, Leader of Kent County Council said:
“Traffic problems and lack of road resilience is not simply a problem for Dover, it is affecting growth and mobility right across the county of Kent. It’s high time it is addressed – the trade corridor through Kent is of vital strategic importance to the country as a whole.
“Kent County Council have set out the need for road resilience and additional traffic management powers. It is vital that this is now taken forward.”
Cllr Trevor Bartlett , Leader of Dover District Council said:
“Once again residents of Dover were unable to get out of their homes to get to medical appointments or to work. Local shops also lost trade over the weekend.
“That’s a disgrace. The Port is an important part of our area but is not the only business in it. We need to see greater priority given to our residents and our community as a whole.”