22 NOV 2017

Lorry parks for customs checks should be built off M20

Lorry parking facilities which could be used for customs checks should be built off the M20, I told the House of Commons on Monday. I called for investment to ensure the right infrastructure is in place at the Port of Dover and the Channel Tunnel on day one of Brexit.

It comes after the Government last week axed its original proposals for an M20 lorry park at Stanford. A new planning application for a lorry park is not expected until 2019. I spoke up during a debate on customs where Financial Secretary to the Treasury Mel Stride faced questions from MPs.

I asked: "Does [the Minister] agree that it is really important for the Channel Ports that parking facilities and resilience are built in off the M20 so that whatever eventuality arrives with respect to needing to do checks—whether for animal health or customs purposes—we have the right kind of infrastructure and facilities in place on day one?"

Mr Stride replied: "I thank my hon. Friend for his intervention and, before I address his specific question, I also thank him for his insights and the fairly powerful lobbying he has quite rightly done on behalf of the Port of Dover and his constituents.

"On his specific question about infrastructure being ready, we certainly recognise that we need to have infrastructure there and that the port itself would generally not be able to handle a large number of stoppages at any one time.

"As I say, I have been down to the port to inspect the facilities there, so I certainly appreciate that. That is an issue that is receiving ongoing consideration."

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Charlie Elphicke

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