Ashford lorry park built for Brexit won’t be fully ready until end of February

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Ashford lorry park built for Brexit won’t be fully ready until end of February

An enormous Brexit lorry park nearby Ashford in Kent won’t be fully operational until late February after heavy rain caused work on it to be suspended last month.

According to the Department for Transport, it was necessary to halt construction of the 1,700 square-metre lorry park in early November so as to manage surface water levels.

Over a month later, it has now been revealed that the lorry park will not be fully operational when the UK leaves the single market on January 1st.

According to Kent Online, lorries will still be directed to the site – provided there is disruption as expected. However, the HMRC checks will actually have to take place at another site at the nearby Waterbrook Park estate. As a result, deliveries are likely to be even further delayed than anticipated.

Ashford MP Damian Green, who represents the Conservatives, has told Kent Online that „HMRC activities that would’ve taken place at Sevington will be carried out there [Waterbrook Park] instead.”

He also explained that the problems caused by rain were the main reason for the change, before going on to say that the Sevington site won’t be fully operational until the end of February.

The news is the just the latest setback for lorry drivers in Kent, who have had to deal with increased congestion on the M20 for well over a week now. On top of that, the local council have said they will be taking strict action against any HGVs illegally parked in towns and cities across the region.

How are the lorry parks supposed to work?

After entering the site, HGVs will visit the Vehicle Entry Check Point before being directed to a vacant HGV space, explains the government’s guide on indoor border facilities.

From there, the lorries will undertake customs and transit checks as required. During processing, drivers must remain on site. Once the checks have been completed, the lorries can leave the site to continue their journeys. 

Not just the documents, but the vehicles themselves will be inspected on the site. There will be 20 lorry parking spaces and a parking space for a van so that the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) will be able to undertake vehicle and driver checks, together with any prohibition of vehicles as a result of the checks.

In addition, there will be inspection bays on site and the time required for each HGV check (excluding physical inspection) is expected to be a maximum of two hours. In the event a physical examination is required, the inspection may take up to eight hours.

This means the facility must be able to provide suitable facilities for the customs staff and also for the lorry drivers. After a petition about improved HGV rest facilities received enough signatures to require an official response, the UK Government new HGV driver facilities said that would be of an „adequate standard”. One would hope that this also applies to the lorry park. 

Photo credit: Ady Kerry / Ashford Borough Council

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