Brexit lorry park 'not ready' for disruption at ports until 1 January at earliest

A view of the M20 motorway near Ashford in Kent. Photograph: Gareth Fuller/PA.

A view of the M20 motorway near Ashford in Kent. Photograph: Gareth Fuller/PA. - Credit: PA

Chaos at the ports due to a ban on freight to France is likely to cause chaos in Kent as the Brexit lorry park created to deal with disruption is not due to be operational until 1 January at the earliest.

Countries across Europe have started banning flights from Britain after the disclosure the country is the centre of the outbreak of the new variant, which is up to 70% more transmissible than the original.

France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, Ireland and Bulgaria have all imposed restrictions on UK travel, while the Port of Dover announced its ferry terminal was closing to all traffic leaving the UK due to French border restrictions.

The 66-acre site lorry park in Ashford was due to assist with queueing from January 1 - the day after the Brexit transition period ends. 

But it may not be "fully" ready until February after heavy rain prevented the work being completed in time, although 1,700 lorries will still be able to be held at the site from next week.

Instead the Department for Transport may look to open a facility it owns in north-east Kent for lorries at Manston airport that may be forced to be opened.

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