Kent coronavirus testing centre to close to make way for Brexit lorry park

A coronavirus testing centre. Photograph: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire/PA Images

A coronavirus testing centre. Photograph: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire/PA Images - Credit: Archant

A coronavirus testing centre in Kent is to close to make way for a post-Brexit lorry park.

KentOnline reports that a leaked letter from Kent County Council confirmed the Ebbsfleet testing centre would close for use as a site to carry out customs checks of cross-Channel lorries after the Brexit transition period ends on December 31.

The letter states: “We have … been notified that the Ebbsfleet testing centre has closed, as the site is required by HMRC for EU Exit.”

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Covid-19 testing at the site began in April but staff were told “out of the blue” earlier this month that the centre was closing, according to the local news site.

A government spokesman said: “Regional testing sites were set up at great speed and selected for their immediate availability, security and access.

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“The regional testing site at Ebbsfleet has ceased operations and a new regional testing site is operating at Curtis Way, Rochester. The relocation will allow the network to continue operating as long as needed.

“In July 2020, the government committed to spending £470 million on new border infrastructure to support ports in building extra capacity to meet the new control requirements where there is space to do so, and, if necessary, to build additional inland sites across the country where checks can take place.

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“Final decisions on inland sites will not be made until we have established the extent of new infrastructure that will be delivered at ports.”

Eurostar announced earlier this month that its trains will not resume serving Ebbsfleet International until 2022 due to the collapse in demand caused by the pandemic, but Domestic Southeastern trains continue to call at the station.

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