Guston campaigners against the Inland Border Facility (IBF) at White Cliffs, Dover, have just alerted Kent Bylines to the Government replies given in the House of Lords June 24 in response to questions asked by Lib Dem peer, Baroness Randerson:
“There are a number of factors which affect demand at IBFs including the overall levels of trade and the number of traders choosing to delay declaration under staged customs controls”.
This story of fewer lorries and reduced trade is corroborated by news of reduced food and drink exports to the EU, down by 28%. This is explained by small firms unable to handle increased paperwork, phyto-sanitary checks and lack of logistics for shared loads. Added to this is the current lack of HGV drivers in the UK reported from the haulage associations.
In answer to the question about light pollution at the Sevington site near Ashford, the government reply (June 10) was:
“The Sevington site operates on a 24/7 basis with lighting required throughout the night to ensure the site operates safely.”
There is no intention to reduce the physical size of the facility, but the business-as-usual operational capacity of the site will reduce. As part of this, the Department will be suspending the use of the two overflow areas from 1st July. However, these areas remain available for contingency traffic management measures should they be required by the Kent Resilience Forum.”
Meetings with local Guston representatives have been cancelled due to the need to await the results of further modelling predictions being carried out by the Kent Resilience Forum together with the government.
This news of fewer lorries is being ignored by most mainstream media. It has no immediate impact on the lives of most people, except those of residents around the Sevington park who can sleep better with some of the lights turned off.
However the impact is felt by the firms and farms who relied on exports to the EU, and will show up in reduced tax take in future years, squeezing what is available to pay for public services. Good news for Guston if there is no longer the need to tarmac over so many green acres, but bad news for nurses hoping for well-earned pay rises.