Works starts at Ebbsfleet on no-deal Brexit customs check point

Alterations have begun to one of the car parks at Ebbsfleet International Station to create a customs check point in the event of a no-deal Brexit. Part of the car park has been sectioned off so work can start on the truck stop, which will be one of five across the county as part of Brexit contingency plans.

Ebbsfleet International Station car park

There is a growing sense of frustration among some Kent MPs over the government’s proposals for the customs clearance sites, which were amplified by the leak of a Whitehall memo warning of long delays. A number of MPs with treasury minister Jesse Norman and HMRC officials to press home their concerns about the unintended consequences of of these sites – namely that they are likely to add to congestion and disruption and delays if there is a no-deal Brexit.

The points will be used by inbound freight lorries – those that arrive in the UK via the Channel ports and Eurotunnel.

If they do not possess the right paperwork, lorries will be routed to these transit sites to get the necessary documents to allow them to continue to their destination. According to the Ashford MP Damian Green, HMRC officials say that processing these foreign lorries could take between one or two hours.

Damian Green

The check point at Ebbsfleet, between Dartford and Gravesend, will be located in car park D, the budget car park. The work, which started last week, includes removal of kerbs throughout the car park, construction of access along the western side of the site and new modular buildings.

Earlier this month, planning permission was granted which allows use the site temporarily for customs clearance until December 31, 2020. The permission allocates up to 393 HGV spaces, although the government has said it plans to use only part of the car park – 130 spaces.

A petition set up to oppose the use of the car park for the check point gained 500 signatures.

Dover Eastern Docks

The other truck stops will be at Manston airfield; STOP24 at Folkestone; the Ashford truckstop and Dover Western Docks. The leader of Dartford Council Jeremy Kite said there was particular concerns about Ebbsfleet, as it would only add to the problem of traffic congestion in the area.

He was one of the councillors who raised misgivings earlier this month about the location of the transit sites. Outgoing Kent County Council leader Paul Carter has also spoken against the plans, saying they would could mayhem across the county and urged the government to rethink the proposal.

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Read more: All the latest news from Dartford

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