09 AUG 2018

Why our port will rise to the Brexit challenge

The Port of Dover is a massive success. Our port is the busiest port in Europe. Every year it transports 12 million people and 2.5 million trucks. Our port will continue to be massive success after Brexit. In fact, I believe it will be more successful than ever.

Lots of scare stories have surfaced in recent weeks – from the usual suspects who want to cancel Brexit and drag us back into the European Union. These are people who don't really believe in Britain and by and large are hoping it all goes wrong. Tales of terrifying tailbacks abound. Clogged roads will grind our area and the wider economy to a halt. We are all familiar with this. It is the latest version of Project Fear. It doesn't have to be this way and we can make a clean Brexit a massive success.

Dover hasn't forged a reputation as one of the world's great ports by standing still. It has adapted time and again over the centuries. Brexit presents a new challenge - yet nothing beyond this country's capabilities. As you would expect since ours is the fifth largest economy in the world.

It's important to remember that Dover and Calais being a success is just as much in Europe's interest as ours. We all do well out of trade - yet Europe does better out of it than we do. They sell us £100 billion more goods every year than we sell them. Tariffs would hit Europe twice as hard as they would hit us.

So deal or no deal, it's in the interest of all for frictionless trade to continue. We already work closely with the French on passport controls, with our border officers working on the other side of the Channel. This could easily be extended to any checks needed on trade. I have written a detailed report on other measures we can take to ensure we all continue to benefit – pre-assessment, trusted trader schemes and a single agency at the border to name a few.

Yet I have always been clear that this requires investment. We need lorry parks, a dualled A2 and the new Lower Thames Crossing. All this is long overdue. We saw last weekend how holidaymakers were gridlocked in Dover yet again. I have demanded answers and action to ensure traffic is kept out of town. But it shows how upgrades are long overdue.

The Department for Transport think our motorways should be used for lorry parking. I don't agree. I think motorways are for free flowing traffic. And that lorry parking should take place in lorry parks - parks the DfT has failed to build. They need to show more energy.

People voted to leave the EU because they believed in better. They rejected project fear then and they reject it now. We need our Government to have the political courage to believe in Britain, as an independent land of opportunity that will be a massive success in the years for come. Growing trade is in the interests of Dover and Calais - Britain and Europe. That is why Dover will continue to be a massive success in the years to come.

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Charlie Elphicke

Here you can read about local news matters and what I've been up to. You can make comments too. I'd welcome your feedback, so please do feel free to comment!

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