Gridlock avoided during Port of Dover’s big Summer Getaway

Last weekend, Friday 21 July to Sunday 23 July, saw the biggest test of the Kent and Dover roads system since before the pandemic. Some 115,000 passengers, over 27,000 cars, more than 440 coaches and some 7,300 lorries travelled through the Port, with numbers inbound into the UK boosting the numbers to over 170,000 people journeying over the weekend.

On Saturday the number of cars travelling through the Port of Dover to go on their summer getaway exceeded 10,000 – for the first time since Britain left the European Union.

While there was congestion in Dover town for part of Saturday, the predictions of a repeat of Easter’s traffic gridlock were not borne out. This is due to a community campaign that put a laser-like focus on ensuring the fullest preparations were made.

These included active traffic management to Keep Dover Clear along with work undertaken at the Port, including extra French check-in booths, extra manning of French border offices, new arrangements for coaches and detailed operational planning, that stopped the traffic chaos that had been predicted by many. French border officials also agreed to turn up in the numbers needed to speed travellers on their way to the continent.

After Easter, we campaigned hard to ensure the fullest preparations were made. This work paid off and the dire predictions that had been made by some did not come to pass. It was good news that with traffic back at pre-pandemic levels we avoided the sort of traffic gridlock we used to see at times before Brexit.

It has been an outstanding job to pull through this weekend. The sheer volume of traffic going through Kent roads makes this a massive logistics operation. It doesn’t take much, as with any road, airport or port, for things to go wrong at peak times. However, things are still very finely balanced. That’s why I am continuing to press for new lorry and check-in facilities, along with other changes, to make our roads more resilient for the future, together with our £45million levelling up bid for further transport improvements and continuing detailed work on border controls, which will help strengthen resilience at the Port.

Natalie speaking at the Port of Dover on Saturday 23 July

Last weekend was the first big test of the Summer. My thanks to the Kent Resilience Forum and the Port of Dover for their detailed planning and operational deployment to support our area.

Preparations are already underway for next weekend’s traffic movements. I’ll be having more meetings on the Dover traffic situation this week to continue to make the case for our community.




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