Steve Brine has been keeping very close tabs on the A31 lorry facility since the turn of the year when EU bound freight faced additional checks before crossing the channel via Portsmouth.
He has constantly challenged the number of vehicle movements through the road, which has been turned into a single carriageway from Alresford to Morn Hill, to see if restrictions can be lifted early.
This morning, the Hampshire LRF (Local Resilience Forum) has written to hauliers making clear its intent to downscale Operation Transmission.
It says; "Signage on the M3 and other roads will no longer be visible from the 18 February and we will no longer be requiring lorries to go via our checking site on the A31. The A31 site will then be partially-decommissioned in the week commencing 22 February, with the barriers removed and traffic returning to using both sides of the A31. We will keep the other site at Tipner, Portsmouth, on standby to allow some continued mitigation."
There are three key reasons for the change:
- 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 Through the Port: Activity at Portsmouth International Port has increased. As well as border-ready compliance rates, the number of lorries is a factor. We 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 more than 2,500 lorries through the Tipner site since the start of January.
- Testing: This is not something that we expected but COVID-19 testing for lorry drivers became a factor and is now established. The LRF is not responsible for this but it is crucial to the bigger picture.
Steve Brine said; “I’ve been watching this like a hawk since the turn of the year and continually pressing Hampshire and the Port to justify the continued presence of such large-scale disruption on the A31. The facts speak for themselves and, while they will confound some possibly expecting the worst, the truth is we haven’t seen carnage at the border and this facility has been often unused. It is therefore the right decision to remove much of the infrastructure and the contraflow ahead of time.”
More information ...