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‘It’s like Wembley Stadium’ – Residents hit out at Brexit lorry park in Ashford

A view of the Sevington Inland Border Facility in Ashford, Kent, as the government continues to develop a 27-acre site into a post-Brexit lorry park

Residents next to a large Brexit lorry park in Ashford say it is as bright as Wembley Stadium and has ruined the dark night sky for miles around.

Located next to Junction 10a of the M20, the facility operates 24/7 and the government says floodlights are required to ensure the site runs safely.

But frustrated neighbours say light pollution from the 66-acre plot in Sevington is “a hideous sight to see” and are calling on the Department for Transport (DfT) to find a solution.

The government has refused to disclose evidence about the environmental impact of the project, arguing it would not be in the public interest to release the information.

But one resident, Anita Adams, claims it is clear all planning rules were “torn up” for Brexit and has branded the facility a “monstrosity”.

“I cannot begin to imagine how intrusive it is to those who live much closer,” she said.

“The site is situated at a high level so there is no getting away from it.

“When I think about Bluewater or even closer industrial sites in Ashford, they are usually placed at low level with adequate screening for both noise and light.”

She added: “These lorry drivers are professionals – do the facilities have to be floodlit like Wembley Stadium?”

Linda Arthur, who lives in nearby Mersham, echoed the same views.

“Mersham residents are shocked and disappointed at the level of light pollution,” she said.

“We have completely lost the dark night sky.

“The light pollution can clearly be seen from the nearby villages of Aldington and Wye and the impact on wildlife and bats must be considerable.

“We urgently need some form of mitigation.”

The site is being used for customs checks and Covid testing of truckers, with staff manning the facility around the clock.

In response to the complaints, the DfT confirmed a detailed lighting survey is being carried out at the site, which is called the Sevington Inland Border Facility.

Bosses say findings and recommendations from the review will be available by the end of the month and they will then share an action plan with the affected residents.

In a statement, a spokesman added: “We are aware of residents’ concerns and have acted on feedback to minimise disturbance, by turning off the lights in one of the most public sections of the site as well as commissioning a detailed lighting survey to better understand the issue.”