Preparations to ensure the road network in Hampshire and beyond flows as well as possible after the EU Exit are now complete.
Operation Transmission – the Local Resilience Forum (LRF) plan – is fully resourced and ready to start with critical signage for hauliers at the roadside having been installed and ready to be unveiled on 1 January 2021.
This follows months of planning by local agencies, based on a ‘worst case’ scenario shared by government. All possible options were looked at to mitigate the possibility of lorries backing up from Portsmouth International Port onto the road network, as a result of changes to EU export paperwork.
The only viable option, identified by the LRF, was to introduce short stay triage points where the border readiness of lorries could be checked – a primary one on the route to Portsmouth at the A31 outside Winchester and another at Tipner. All other options were discounted as they did not provide adequate mitigation. The final decision took into account how busy roads were on a typical day.
Whilst a deal has been agreed between the UK and EU relating to trade, changes to the paperwork required to be produced by hauliers for border readiness remain. Op Transmission will therefore still be necessary to assist the flow of traffic on Hampshire’s strategic road network.
Extensive consultation has been carried out with freight hauliers, with clear information provided about the impact of arriving in Portsmouth and not being border ready. Planning has also involved implementing speed restrictions at two locations, these are not to do with traffic flow. They are required to ensure the safety of those who are working at the roadside as part of the plans.
When will we know if the plan is working?
Brittany Ferries requires lorries to book well in advance. This means the LRF has demand data for the first few days of the New Year. It shows the first three days are likely to be quieter than peak demand. This will then build to ‘normal’ day demand. The reasons for the first days being quieter include non-working days, the impact of COVID-19 on road movements (including school traffic), possible stockpiling of goods, and some hauliers choosing to wait and see what happens.
- Op Transmission will commence on the 1 January from 8am. This will give hauliers and those operating the triage points the opportunity to familiarise themselves as the plans bed in, and enable a live time assessment of how everything at the port and beyond is working.
- Hauliers are still required to present a negative Covid-19 result when entering France, this can be undertaken at the port before boarding the ferry