Medway and surrounding areas in Kent are set to see further Brexit-induced road chaos, after Government Minister Michael Gove announced a ‘Kent Access Permit System’ for lorry drivers entering the county.
Drivers of Lorries weighing more than 7.5 tonnes will require permits to enter Kent, in order to prove they have the paperwork necessary to ferry goods to Europe. The system is set to be enforced by police and ANPR cameras – the funding for this is yet to be identified.
Only last week, it was revealed that a Covid testing site in Ebsfleet was closed to make way for a lorry park to account for post-Brexit customs check, anticipated to cause freight and traffic chaos in Kent.
This raised questions about whether Medway would hold a similar fate, after the Government passed a statutory instrument earmarking Medway as one nearly 30 sites across the whereby a lorry park can be established without planning permission from the local council.
This means that without any consultation from Medway Council the Government can construct holding sites in Medway to deal with increased freight capacity as a result of Brexit pressures at the border. Not only does this risk exacerbating the already pressured Medway Towns traffic network but removes the Council’s ability to resist.
The Medway Labour and Co-operative Group will be supporting a motion, proposed by Group Leader Cllr Vince Maple to the upcoming Full Council meeting to be held on Thursday 8th October, expressing disappointment at the move and calling on the Council to make representations to national Government by writing to the Secretary of State.
‘The Government’s decision to pass this statutory instrument without any consultation is totally unacceptable – they are treating the people of Kent with contempt.’ Cllr Andy Stamp
Medway Labour Group’s Spokesperson for Regeneration and Communities, Cllr Andy Stamp said that, ‘This is yet another blow for Medway’s long-suffering road users.
‘The Medway Towns road network simply does not have the capacity to deal with hundreds of additional freight vehicles. The proposed lorry parks, as well as the ‘Kent Access Permits’ will only further exacerbate our already congested roads.
‘With only three months to go until the end of the Brexit transition period, it is outrageous that the Government are only just releasing these chaotic plans to the people of Medway, who will be directly affected by the inevitable disruption.
‘The Government’s decision to pass this statutory instrument without any consultation is totally unacceptable – they are treating the people of Kent with contempt.’
Cllr Vince Maple, Leader of the Medway Labour Group and the Member who will be proposing the motion at the upcoming full council meeting added, ‘A decision of this magnitude should include representation from the community it will affect, not side-lined through a back-door statutory instrument.
‘Not only does a lorry park in Medway stand to exacerbate existing traffic problems in the Medway towns, there is absolutely no ability for Medway Council to do anything about it.
‘I hope to see unanimous support for the motion across the council to send that clear message that the Government cannot ignore local democracy.’