New Brexit customs clearance centre for Kent

Ashford, UK: The government has purchased an 11 hectare site adjacent to the M20 motorway some 20 miles from Dover for a new customs clearance post.

According to the Guardian newspaper, a letter from from Rachel Maclean, MP and parliamentary undersecretary of state for transport, to Kent County Council says: “Plans have not yet been finalised for the use of this site, but is anticipated to form part of the Department’s strategy to minimise potential disruption at Kent ports for the end of the transition period. This is likely to involve temporary capacity for the holding of delayed HGVs and facilities for border-related controls to be carried out by government agencies (eg HM Revenue and Customs). More detailed information will be provided in due course.”

The emergency purchase of the site is expected to be unveiled tomorrow (Sunday) by Michael Gove, when he publicises the government’s Brexit preparedness campaign.

Work will start almost immediately to clear the site. Kent County Council was told of the government purchase on Friday afternoon forcing it to rush out hand-delivered letters to local residents to warn of disruption.

Local authorities in Kent fear massive congestion on the M20 and A20 motorways from freight traffic using Dover port and Eurotunnel forced to queue for customs clerance. Last year contingency plans, called Operation Brock were put in place to prevent gridlock in the event that the UK leaving the EU with no deal.

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