Public anger over post-Brexit lorry park in Ashford

Published: 15 July 2020

Public anger over post-Brexit lorry park in Ashford
Many members of the public have voiced their concerns about the recent plans to develop a post-Brexit lorry park which will stretch over 27-acres and act as a pit-stop between Brexit customs clearance as well as other facilities nearby in Dover. Site developers hope it will reduce the rate of traffic on the nearby M20 and mean that the delays lorry drivers will face won't have implications for other vehicles.
 
This could also have consequences for the local wildlife, which environmental activists have also protested to the development of this large new lorry park. The frustration regarding the park's development being approved by the Government was felt by local residents as well as MPs. For lorry drivers, it could prove to be an essential - should travel from the border take much longer (with an estimate of 3 times as long spent waiting at the border and handling paperwork) - many will have already been on the road for a longer period of time and would need to use this lorry park as a break-point.
 
This is part of the initiative put in place by the Government to insert the Brexit border with appropriate resources, for which a £705 million investment took place. With plans to introduce an updated IT border system (the outcome of which has still not been shown to owner drivers across the UK) and 500 more Border Force officials.
 
While speaking on the Andrew Marr show on Sunday, Michael Gove denied claims that it amounted to a vast lorry park. Up until recently, these plans had been kept confidential, however, as this was to be developed on a public space - the local council contacted the Government to address the concerns they had regarding the site's development. Leading to a response from the public.
 
Among MPs responding, was former Prime Minister Theresa May - who opposed the plans saying they were "Unfair to Ashford" and "Near too many homes".
 
In response to Gove, local Green Party MP Mandy Rossi called his remarks "semantics". Others to speak out on the plans in place for hauliers included Nigel Farage - who said "Kent should not become the garden for lorry parks." While many also criticised his involvement having lead to the site's development.
 
While members of the logistics industry have applauded the scheme, as it would mean more availability for stops for drivers in the nearby area and could likely facilitate to many of the needs of the logistics and haulage industries following Brexit - there is nonetheless the concern for the impact that the local area could face in light of the site development plans.
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