'Lorry park shows unfortunate consequences of Brexit'
Campaigners believe the creation of a 2,000-truck lorry park highlights the “unfortunate consequences of Brexit” – as dozens of protesters demonstrated against the planned use of the site. Work started on the 27-acre plot, close to Junction 10a of the M20 in Ashford, just hours after the government signed off on a deal for the land last month. Neighbours living close to the site, which is overlooked by the historic Sevington church, complained at the time that they had only been given a few hours’ warning before work began.
And today about 40 activists turned up nearby to express their concerns about the creation of the lorry park.
Organiser Charlotte Mbali said: “There are banners here from all over Kent, mainly from European Movement branches. “We’re drawing attention to the unfortunate consequences of Brexit, which we always thought was a mistake. “For the Greens who are here, we’re obviously very concerned about the side-effects, like the loss of habitats and pollution.”
Demonstrators say the creation of the lorry park in Ashford highlights “the unfortunate consequences of Brexit”. Picture: Barry Goodwin
Ms Mbali is calling for consultations to take place between the engineers and residents about the development.
Ashford MP Damian Green previously said that the lorries could be temporarily held on the land after the Department for Transport bought the spot to ensure the free flow of freight once the Brexit transition period ends. The government says it is planning “two primary uses” for the site – a temporary holding area for trucks in case there is disruption at Dover and as a border control post to check drivers have the correct paperwork.
“It’s taking 27 acres of rural Kent for HGVs. This will infuriate businesses – they’re going to have to set aside a lot of staff time and investment in putting together these customs forms,” Ms Mbali, from Western Avenue, added.
“The red tape from Brussels is not nearly as bad as the red tape being caused by Brexit.
Where the post-Brexit lorry park will go
“And the lorries will be here waiting to get their papers through customs.” Earlier this week, plans to store piles of earth in a field next to the post-Brexit lorry park were described as “environmental vandalism” by angry residents. The Department for Transport wants to put soil on land alongside the plot as it continues to work on the controversial holding area project.
The protest, which began at 11am, was expected to end at about 12.30pm. It was attended by a number of Green, Labour and Liberal Democrat speakers.
Organisers say about 40 people, including Ashford Green Party’s Mandy Rossi, left, took part in the protest. Picture: Barry Goodwin