Operation Transmission to be downscaled from 18 February
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Issued on behalf of the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Local Resilience Forum
EU Exit planning has worked and things are running smoothly
Hauliers thanked and encouraged to keep high compliance rates
A31 lorry triage will be partially-decommissioned
A massive effort from hauliers, and agencies involved in the Hampshire Local Resilience Forum, means a key milestone will be reached earlier than planned.
With eight of the scheduled twelve weeks of Operation Transmission passed, the decision to downscale the operation and return the A31 to normal has been taken. From 18 February lorries will no longer need to pull off the Motorway network and have papers checked in advance.
The key factors in the decision were:
Strong Compliance: Border-ready compliance rates by hauliers using Portsmouth International Port in terms of the required paperwork are now, and have been in recent weeks, consistently strong. Compliance now stands at around 90% each day compared with the reasonable worst case scenario that up to 70% of lorries would not be border ready.
Volumes of Traffic Through the Port: Activity at Portsmouth International Port has increased. They are not yet back to ‘normal’ levels but they are now far higher than at the start of January. More than 1,900 lorries have passed through our A31 site and 2,500 lorries through our Tipner site since the start of January.
Chief Fire Officer and Strategic Coordinating Group Chair for the Hampshire and Isle of Wight LRF, Neil Odin commented: “We look carefully at the facts and every indicator tells us that things are running smoothly enough to allow us to be proactive and make this important decision to downscale our operation ahead of time. Of course, there are still risks as volumes of freight are still volatile but there is a balance to strike and we have listened carefully to hauliers, local people and those who represent them.
“We planned for the reasonable worst case scenario that we were presented with and I am so proud of everyone, from those at the Port to those who worked at the triage points, the staff in our LRF agencies, and the lorry drivers who continue to work hard to get that paperwork right.
“As we leave the A31 site we feel it is important to leave things in better shape than when we arrived. Part of that is an army of volunteers who will be out picking litter on Friday 19 February. I’d like to again thank the local community for their understanding.”
Councillor Rob Humby, Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Economy, Transport and Environment at Hampshire County Council, said: “I’d like to thank the Local Resilience Forum for making this plan the success that it was. The Government asked the LRF to plan for the possibility of traffic disruption as freight travelled from other parts of the country to the Port of Portsmouth for a short period immediately after the UK left the EU. Mitigation measures were put in place, fully funded by the Government, and the plan was continually monitored to ensure it delivered what it intended, which was to ensure minimum disruption to the day to day lives of Hampshire residents.”
Signage on the M3 and other roads will no longer be visible from the 18 February Instead lorries will be able to travel straight to Portsmouth International Port from 18 February. The A31 site will be partially-decommissioned in the week commencing 22 February, with the barriers removed and traffic returning to using both sides of the A31. Some of the physical infrastructure on the A31 will remain for a short period as a precaution in case compliance or volumes of traffic radically change. The other triage site at Tipner, Portsmouth, will remain on standby for now to allow some continued mitigation, not least because volume of goods travelling are still volatile.