Only 87 trucks take part in the trial of emergency traffic system designed to cope with 6,000 vehicles

A live rehearsal of an emergency traffic system that will be put in place to prevent congestion in Dover in the event of a no-deal Brexit has been described as “a waste of time” by drivers participating in the test in Kent on Monday.

The Road Haulage Association said the dry run of a contingency traffic plan for the port was “too little too late”.

The location for the Department for Transport’s trial was a disused airport north of the Kent port that was once used to test the bouncing bombs employed in the “Dambuster” raids in the second world war.

Under contingency plans,

Manston airport will be used as a parking facility for 6,000 lorries, but only 87 participated in the trial staged at 8 am on Monday.

The lorries started their journey at dawn at the airport, where they queued before being given the go-ahead to drive to a second holding area, a three-mile stretch of the A256, which had been coned off to normal traffic.

From there they were directed en masse to Dover, Britain’s biggest roll-on-roll-off port that handles about 10,000 lorries a day.

After the first dry run, drivers said while it was good the government was doing something the exercise was so small it was pointless.

“It’s a waste of time. They should have done it in rush-hour. You can see the traffic here is just average. This is not what it will be like in no-deal,” said Adam Carter, a driver with Int Logistics.


It took about an hour for 87 lorries to make the 33-mile journey to Dover and it appeared to go smoothly with no queues evident en route.