Following pressure from the Dover and Deal MP Natalie Elphicke, Transport Ministers, Kent County Council, the Port of Dover, Kent Police and the Kent Resilience Forum have all been making detailed preparations to avoid gridlock at the port and in the town during the Summer Getaway period.
The MP says she hopes the preparations will now be enough – as they had been for the better Summer half term period. In particular she has received assurances that French Border Police have promised there will be enough officials at Dover over the period.
However, with the next two weekends expected to be the highest getaway traffic since the pandemic, Natalie has warned that if there are any problems on the roads, swift action will be required by Ministers and Kent Police to keep Dover clear and prevent gridlock in the local area.
Separately the MP has given a cautious welcome to moves to make the TAP system near Aycliffe a “quiet zone.” However Natalie says she wants to ensure the TAP system is scrapped altogether and moved away from Aycliffe back towards the Courtwood junction.
Simon Jones from BBC South East, reporting back on Natalie’s comments
“I have been working tirelessly to ensure full preparations are made to minimise problems at the port during the Summer Getaway period. I have been assured that French Border Police will turn up in the numbers that are required to keep the traffic flowing.”
“While I am hopeful that things will run smoothly, I am pressing Ministers and Kent Police to take swift action to keep Dover clear in the event of tailbacks. This is expected to be the busiest period since the pandemic and traffic delays are expected.”
“The new quiet TAP zone at Aycliffe is a small step in the right direction. I have raised this over months and indeed years with Ministers and in Parliament. Residents have been kept up by lorry drivers honking their horns, revving their engines and by noisy chiller units for too long. This measure in itself is unlikely to be enough to stop the disturbances. What we really need to see is the Dover TAP system is scrapped altogether and moved away from Aycliffe back to the Courtwood junction.”