Diggers get to work on enormous Kent lorry park


Work today continued on a 27-acre lorry park which will be able to hold up to 2,000 trucks in case of mass hold-ups at Dover when the Brexit transition period comes to an end.

The development, next to Junction 10a in Ashford, Kent, is being constructed by the Government as it prepares for the negotiation period with the EU to close in December.

Upon completion, the vast site will be used for HMRC customs checks, with an area available as a holding space for up to 2,000 trucks should delays arise for vehicles crossing the Channel.

However, it is hoped vehicles will not need to be stored on the land and it will be ‘purely a customs checking site’ by July. 

Some 29 lorry parks are expected to be built across England in order to cope with potential post-Brexit border trading chaos. 

Work today continued on a 27-acre lorry park near Ashford, Kent which will be able to hold up to 2,000 trucks when the Brexit transition period comes to an end

The development, next to Junction 10a in Ashford, Kent, is being constructed by the Government as it prepares for the negotiation period to come to an end in December

The development, next to Junction 10a in Ashford, Kent, is being constructed by the Government as it prepares for the negotiation period to come to an end in December

Locals won’t have a say in the construction of the sites which are being built in Leicestershire, Warwickshire, Solihull, Kent, Essex, Yorkshire and Lincolnshire. 

The sites have been planned because of fears that truck drivers will face long delays to enter the EU.    

While it isn’t clear if construction of any other sites has begun, an existing carpark in Gravesend, which has been used as a coronavirus testing facility, is set to be turned into a customs check point.  

There are fears the UK could leave the EU without a free trade deal following the Brexit transition period, which could cause significant delays in vehicles crossing the border, Kent Live reported. 

It was previously claimed failure to strike a Brexit deal by next month could mean up to 7,000 lorries would be forced to queue up ahead of crossing the Channel. 

Photographs today captured the ongoing development of the site, with vehicles seen digging up the ground to make way for construction.

Queues of lorries were pictured on the M20 nearby as they waited to enter the Eurotunnel to Coquelles, France in Folkstone.

Construction on the site was halted last month after what was believed to be a Saxon wall was uncovered by workers, Kent Online reported.

However, it is hoped vehicles will not need to be stored on the land and it will be 'purely a customs checking site' by July. Pictured: The site today

However, it is hoped vehicles will not need to be stored on the land and it will be ‘purely a customs checking site’ by July. Pictured: The site today

Photographs today captured the ongoing development of the site, with vehicles seen digging up the ground to make way for construction

Photographs today captured the ongoing development of the site, with vehicles seen digging up the ground to make way for construction

A view of land around Sevington in Ashford, Kent, as the government develops the 27-acre site near the town into a post-Brexit lorry park

A view of land around Sevington in Ashford, Kent, as the government develops the 27-acre site near the town into a post-Brexit lorry park

Queues of lorries were pictured on the M20 nearby as they waited to enter the Eurotunnel to Coquelles, France in Folkstone

Queues of lorries were pictured on the M20 nearby as they waited to enter the Eurotunnel to Coquelles, France in Folkstone

The relic, which the Department for Transport later confirmed was not Saxon, caused work to be paused in an area close to the A2070 dual carriageway.

Work had continued elsewhere on the site, with orange fencing erected around the site still in place today.  

It emerged in July that the Department for Transport was looking to purchase the land in preparation for any potential trade disruptions as a result of Brexit.  

Transport Minister Rachel Maclean later confirmed the move, adding there were ‘two primary uses’ for the land.

Construction on the site was halted last month after what was believed to be a Saxon wall was uncovered by workers. Pictured: Lorries on the M20 today

Construction on the site was halted last month after what was believed to be a Saxon wall was uncovered by workers. Pictured: Lorries on the M20 today

It emerged in July that the Department for Transport was looking to purchase the land in preparation for any potential trade disruptions as a result of Brexit

It emerged in July that the Department for Transport was looking to purchase the land in preparation for any potential trade disruptions as a result of Brexit

She said: ‘First, government departments envisage using it as a permanent site for facilities related to future border processes, notably HMRC (as an office of departure/arrival for goods moved under ‘transit’ arrangements) and Defra (as a border control post for goods needing sanitary and phytosanitary checks).

‘Second, the site may also be used as a contingency lorry holding area for the particular, foreseeable risk of significant disruption at the end of the transition period.’

Ms Maclean added Downing Street had ‘no intention’ the site would become a permanent lorry holding facility for use in the event of ‘cross-Channel disruption’.   

It is believed HMRC will use the land to check lorries until 2025.  

A Cabinet Office Spokesperson said: ‘In July 2020, the government committed to spending £470m on new border infrastructure to support ports in building extra capacity to meet the new control requirements where there is space to do so, and, if necessary, to build additional inland sites across the country where checks can take place.

‘Engagement is underway with ports and we are speaking to Local Authorities about potential inland sites. Final decisions on all inland sites will be set out in due course.’

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