Guston IBF no longer needed

Activists standing on bridge over main road, holding banners
Activists standing on bridge over main road, holding banners; Guston is no longer needed! Photo provided by S. Gleave

Considerable relief and joy were experienced recently by residents of Dover District living in the vicinity of the Guston Inland Border Facility, when it was revealed that Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs and the Department for Transport would not be completing the construction of the IBF.

Now for the Good News

There follows a sequence of letters. The first is a quotation from Sarah Gleave, of Dover and Deal Green Party in a message to Kent Bylines’ Editor-in-Chief Charlotte Mbali:

“We are delighted that the residents of Guston, Whitfield and Rokesley ward, Dover and the children and staff of two neigbouring schools will not have their lives blighted by having all the air pollution of a freight clearance site on their doorstep, and that residents of the wider area can hope that the undualled A2 is less likely to become blocked.  

“But serious questions need to be asked about the capacity of UK Department for Transport Conservative ministers Rachel Maclean and Grant Shapps and Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to research and forward-plan. What has changed regarding the amount of freight flowing through Dover? Or as regards UK – EU trade? How much public money has already been spent on the Dover IBF between January 2021 and June 2022? 

“Where does this leave the job promises that Dover’s MP Ms Elphicke made as recently as 10 March 2022 when she said 600 jobs at Dover IBF were to be expected seven days before the announcement of 500 mass P&O sackings on 17 March? We have been told that as recently as 14 June 2022 East Kent travellers wanting to use Eurotunnel were still being directed west up to Sevington, Ashford to get into the eastern bound queue for Eurotunnel Cheriton, which results in more mileage, more costly petrol used and more pollution from queues. Is this decision on the Dover IBF related to the failure of the RIS2 bid for the dualling of the A2 between Cox Hill and Eastern Dock, Dover?” 

best wishes 

Sarah Gleave 
Dover & Deal Green Party 

Letter from Guston PC

Sarah’s letter was in response to a letter sent to residents of Guston where the Government was constructing the Dover International Border Facility.

A campaigner taking a selfie with the empty field, intended for the IBF, behind her
Guston is no longer needed: A campaigner taking a selfie with the empty field, intended for the IBF, behind her. Photo by S. Gleave

“Dear All,
“I hope you are all well and have been enjoying the lovely sunny weather that we have today.  
“I wanted to write to update you further on where we are with the HMRC/Department for Transport Border Facility.
“We have today received an urgent update on this project from Ken Fagan, Senior Project Manager in charge of the delivery programme, borders & trade: strategic planning, customer & infrastructure.  His comments are below:”

Following the end of staged customs controls in January 2022, IBF demand has been much lower than expected, and trade is flowing well into and out of GB utilising the services we and commercial operators offer. This has been achieved through the effective operation of our existing IBFs and the successful adoption of new processes from working with the wider haulier community.

The revised forecasting suggests a reduction in demand which has resulted in an opportunity to review the current size of our network. The decision has therefore been made to cease construction of the Dover IBF. Sevington will remain as the main border facility in Kent with some additional support from Dover Western Docks, Stop 24 and Ebbsfleet for the remainder of 2022.

There will be some further activity on the site as we shut down the initial work. The site will be transferred back to DfT where its future will be reviewed and agreed. Any future proposal would be subject to public engagement and would require a formal planning submission either to the local planning authority or the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) as appropriate.

Best wishes
Tracey Creed BEM
Chair – Guston Parish Council

More comments are awaited from Kent Bylines local correspondents.