Brexit: Rain blamed as Kent lorry park misses deadline

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Image source, PA Media
Image caption,
New border checks could impact on travel times for lorries crossing between Kent and Europe

A lorry park being built to relieve congestion on Kent's roads post-Brexit will not be fully operational when the transition period ends on 1 January.

The Department for Transport (DfT) has confirmed planned customs checks on the site at Sevington near Ashford will have to take place elsewhere.

The site will be available to park 1,200 lorries if needed but a customs controls area will not be ready.

Wet weather has been blamed by the DfT for work falling behind schedule.

Customs checks on HGVs will instead be carried out another site in Ashford, the government has said.

A spokesman for the DfT said: "From 1 January customs checks on HGVs will be taking place at the Ashford Waterbrook site before permanently moving to the Sevington site in February 2021 if not before.

"The Sevington site will open as planned on 1 January to manage traffic should there be disruption."

Authorities have warned of the potential for delays when new border controls are implemented from new year and 7,000 HGVs is thought to be the maximum queue length expected in Kent under worst-case scenario planning.

The Sevington and Ashford Waterbrook customs clearance facilities are part of Operation Fennel, a series of escalating traffic systems designed to cope with post-transition disruption.

The plan includes:

  • TAP 20 which can hold 500 HGVs on the A20
  • Operation Brock under which 2,000 trucks can queue on the M20
  • Brock Manston which would see 4,000 lorries park in Thanet
  • TAP 256 which can hold up to 450 HGVs on the A256
  • The Sevington inland border facility near Ashford which holds 1,200 lorries and will be used to manage customs clearance
  • Further car parks at Ebbsfleet and Ashford Waterbrook which will also be used for customs clearance
  • Lastly, Operation Stack, which would bring M20 closures, can be used but would be implemented as a last resort
Image source, Kent Resilience Forum
Image caption,
Operation Fennel is an escalating series of plans to deal with traffic flow

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