The Road Haulage Association is bemused at the news that hundreds of portable toilets are to be distributed along the M20 to offer relief to lorry drivers facing gridlock in tailbacks of traffic heading towards Dover as a result border checks following a no-deal Brexit.
Commenting, RHA chief executive Richard Burnett said: “Of course we welcome the news that the needs of the thousands of HGV drivers heading towards Dover each day have been taken into consideration but how on earth will the system work?
“If the hard shoulder is to be used for traffic heading towards the Tunnel and the outside lane used by traffic heading towards the Port – where will the toilets be located? We cannot expect drivers to run across 2 active motorway lanes.
“A more effective, hygienic and safe solution is needed. Thought should to be given to mobile truck mounted facilities that can utilise the central area, be easily emptied and cleaned.”
But toilet facilities are only part of the issue surrounding Operation Brock. In 2015, queues of 4,600 lorries stretched for 30 miles – and the RHA gained the co-operation of the big supermarket chains to donate food and water as the Government had failed to consider the basic welfare of drivers.
13-miles of the coast-bound M20, between junction eight near Maidstone and junction nine near Ashford, have been earmarked to hold 2000 HGVs, but in the event of a no-deal Brexit, each truck will have to complete customs formalities – adding at least 45 minutes to its transit time through the Port. Who will provide food and water for drivers when Brock becomes ‘the norm’”?
Concluding, Richard Burnett said: “On peak days over 10,000 freight vehicles pass through Dover. To plan for 2000 trucks over 13 miles is at best wildly optimistic. Drivers don’t just need somewhere to stop, they need to be given the same consideration as all other road users. Toilets facilities, food and water are a human right – not a privilege.”