The government has announced plans for up to 10 inland sites to cope with Brexit congestion and border checks including in Birmingham, Warrington and at a former airfield near Epping Forest in Essex.
The inland border sites are being acquired to relieve ports including at Dover and Liverpool and could be in place for up to two years, according to one of the councils where the planning process for infrastructure has already begun.
Among the proposed sites is a second facility for Ashford in Kent, adjacent to the recently acquired “Mojo” lorry park that will enable “about 2,000 HGVs” to queue on the coast-bound carriageway while other traffic continues to flow in both directions.
The details were disclosed in a long-awaited update on the government’s border operating model and are part of the plan to avert congestion and queues of up to 7,000 trucks in Kent.
On Wednesday Michael Gove, in charge of implementing Brexit, said of the potential for chaos in Kent: “If things do go wrong, then to paraphrase Rag’n’Bone Man – put the blame on me.”
The document sets out new rules for border controls for travelling with EU member state national ID cards, no longer acceptable from 2021 when passports will be mandatory for entry to the UK.
It also confirms that hauliers will need a “Kent access permit” to get into the county if they are heading for a ferry in Dover or a Eurotunnel train in Folkestone as part of congestion management.
The government says it will be putting new infrastructure in place at Ebbsfleet international station in Kent, North Weald airfield in Essex and Warrington in the north-west.
Along with the second Ashford site – which would be used for processes around transit including “passport for goods” checks – two further sites are being considered primarily for the same processes in Thames Gateway and Birmingham. Additional potential sites could be put in place by July next year in Holyhead, Fishguard/Pembroke and Dover.
Industry leaders including the Road Haulage Association, which Gove has accused of not being “constructive”, welcomed the report.
The government had identified 29 areas last month for potential use for border infrastructure but has already stood some of these boroughs down. Medway council in Kent said it had been notified by the government that land in its area would not be needed.
Anglesey council has already rejected an approach