Shadow Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Rachel Reeves MP, is demanding urgent clarity from the Government over its post-Brexit plans.
Speaking on a visit to the site of a proposed giant lorry park in Kent, she criticised the Government’s failure to use the four years since the EU referendum to plan for the end of the transition period on December 31.
Rachel Reeves was joined on the visit to the 27-acre greenfield site of a planned ‘customs clearance centre’ near Ashford by Canterbury MP Rosie Duffield; Cllr Dara Farrell, leader of the Labour Group on Kent County Council and Ashford councillor; and representatives of the Kent Chambers of Commerce.
The base in the Kent countryside will be used to process lorries using the port at Dover from January. However, nearby residents fear the lorry park will cause chaos on local roads and could blight their homes with increased noise and air pollution.
According to industry estimates, UK companies doing business with mainland Europe will have to absorb costs in extra bureaucracy of between £7 billion and £13 billion year and fill in an estimated 215 extra customs declarations.
Rachel Reeves MP said:
“This giant lorry park will stand as a symbol of the Government’s failure to plan properly for Brexit, with so little achieved in four years and only five months to go before the end of the transition period.
“Ministers need to explain how much this park will cost and how it will operate, and reassure residents who understandably fear it will make their lives a misery.
“When Boris Johnson talked about relaxing planning laws, no one thought he meant turning part of the Garden of England into a lorry park the size of about 15 football pitches.
“The Prime Minister promised an ‘oven-ready’ deal and said there would be extra cash for major projects. No one imagined that meant concreting over the countryside to build a lorry park.”