TAKEN FOR A RIDE

Doubling down on Dover deceit

Villagers near Dover have found that the deceit goes on, as the government prepares to survey residents, even though plans to build a lorry inspection park just outside the town already finalised. They have only a fortnight to make their feelings known.

Regular readers of Kent Bylines will know about the plans for the lorry park and the anger this has caused in local villages. Locals were told only on 31 December that the fields had already been bought. Only now have they been given the chance to comment, and the consultation ends on 10 February.

The leaflet attached to the survey says the park is temporary – needed for up to five years – and designed to inspect lorries importing goods such as “plants, animal products, certain food and live animals” from the EU.

A letter sent to local residents on 23 January states that: “The overall parking capacity for HGVs on the site (that will include for all regulatory checks and inspections) is up to 550 HGVs.”

The consultation leaflet says the government “does not expect” to use the place for storing lorries and traffic assessments show “no significant impacts” as a result of the scheme.

Amongst the “no significant impacts” is the news that North Downs Way footpath will be re-directed “temporarily” to the east of the site, which will be working from 1 July.

Drivers and staff who become ill while on site may face a bill for private medical treatment because such facilities “will be provided privately as to not burden the NHS”.

Although the leaflet asks: “How many staff will be on site?” it does not answer the question, saying only that: “A number of local jobs could be created.” Hazardous goods on the site will be treated in accordance with an Operational Management Plan. Data on residents who take part in the survey will be shared with six government departments and “any external department consultants” and the information will be held for three months following the end of the process.