Operation Brock will remain in place until at least after the May Day bank holiday on 2 May, in order to manage the flow of traffic to the Port of Dover and Eurotunnel.

The Kent Resilience Forum (KRF) said the decision to keep the traffic control strategy running for the time being had not been taken lightly, but with cross channel capacity still down by a third following the suspension of P&O services it would enable it to safely manage HGVs travelling to the continent.

Operation Brock was re-introduced on 22 March after moveable barriers were deployed on the M20.

At the time, National Highways said it was a precaution due to reduced ferry capacity following P&O’s decision to sack 800 ferry workers and suspend services whilst it recruited cheaper agency labour to run its ships.

Simon Jones, KRF strategic planning lead, said: “All partners acknowledge the impact of keeping the M20 contraflow in place has on people’s day to day journeys.

“But with limited capacity at the Port of Dover, with P&O’s ferries still out of service, the traffic management system will continue to help everyone on the move reach their destination as quickly and safely as possible.

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“We thank the people of Kent, those using the M20, HGV drivers and their employers once again for their patience.”

Nicola Bell, National Highways regional director, said: “Operation Brock is currently working well.

“It’s helping us manage flows of HGVs to Eurotunnel and the Port of Dover and the M20 contraflow is open in both directions to all other traffic.

“Operation TAP, approaching the Port of Dover, has been in use periodically but is not delaying HGVs or other traffic.”

The KRF added that HGV drivers were being reminded that when Operation Brock was in place they must use the M20, not the M2 or A2, join Operation Brock at junction 8 of the M20 and follow all signs and instructions.

A failure to do so could result in fines of £300.