Sat. May 21st, 2022

Huge queues of lorries have built up for miles on the A20 heading towards the Port of Dover.

HGVs bound for the continent have been backed up in a scheme known as TAP – the Traffic Access Protocol – which has been on-and-off for three days.

TAP is back in place today (January 22) and the long queues have returned.

READ MORE: The latest traffic and travel updates from Kent

Highways England traffic monitoring shows some areas between Folkestone and Dover are at a complete standstill.



For the latest travel news on the roads and railways in Kent, including the M2, M20, M25 and A2 there’s no better place to turn than the KentLive Traffic and Travel newsletter.

And keeping up to date with the latest traffic, roadworks and delays couldn’t be easier. you can follow us on Facebook, TwitterInstagram and even sign up to our weekly email updates giving you the latest headlines straight to your inbox.

Simply press here, enter your email address and follow the instructions to sign up for the Kent Traffic and Travel newsletter. You can also enter your email address in the box below the picture on most desktop and mobile platforms.

You can also sign up to our website and comment on our stories by pressing here and signing in.

What is TAP?

Kent County Council Highways team said the protocol aims to prevent traffic from disrupting the local road network and the A20 through Dover town.

TAP essentially turns the left lane of the A20 into a lorry queue, with the intention of allowing normal traffic to use the other lanes.

It was first introduced in 2015 and has been used somewhat regularly ever since.

However, there has been a noticeable increase in its usage since the beginning of 2022.

Why is TAP being used more often?

A spokesman for KCC said the increase in HGV traffic is normal to see after the lull of the festive period and is simply the Port being “back to business”.

But new border checks introduced since Brexit seem to be causing the increase in delays.

Under new rules introduced on January 1, 2022, freight carriers now have to perform more extensive checks at the UK-EU border and this means that exporting goods to Europe can take longer at the checkpoints.

Simon Jones, Corporate Director of Growth, Environment and Transport at Kent County Council said recently: “At all stages, this disruption has severe and unsustainable impacts on our communities and businesses, particularly in areas most in need in east Kent.

“While the traffic management scheme TAP20 is a useful tool to regulate HGV flows into Dover, the fact it is currently being used at least two to three times per week highlights the lack of overall resilience in existing plans.

“It also reinforces the severe fragility of the existing border-related infrastructure.”

Enter your postcode for the latest traffic and travel updates in your area

There are more checks to come

Concerns are growing over further biometrics checks that are due to be introduced in September 2022.

Kent Resilience Forum partners have recently called for a major upgrade to Kent’s continental border in order to move away from “short-term reactive and inherently disruptive methods”, such as TAP.

Members of the Transport Select Committee visited the Port of Dover this week to see how the soon-to-be-implemented EU Entry / Exit (ESS) Scheme will work when it comes into effect later this year.

Port CEO Doug Bannister followed MPs’ on a “fact-finding tour” and has called for an urgent meeting with the UK Government and EU authorities to discuss how the checks will work at the port.

The new plans include biometric checks, which require drivers to have facial recognition and fingerprint scans to prove their identity before being cleared to enter the EU.

Mr Bannister said he was concerned about the safety of these if they forced people out of their lorry cabs and cars.

He said: “As currently designed, the biometric checks work well at an airport or a rail terminal, but they’re not designed for a busy roll-on, roll-off ferry terminal.

“If it is forcing people to get out of their vehicles inside of a busy port, that is just unsafe. We could not allow that to happen. That will lead to increased queues, no doubt.”

Sign up to get the latest stories from Kent directly into your inbox here

.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.