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Kexit: Kent's HGVs may need travel 'pass' to avoid Brexit Channel Tunnel congestion

Goods vehicle drivers working within Kent could be given their own travel pass to avoid Channel Tunnel congestion after the Brexit transition ends.

Kent County Council's (KCC) corporate director for transport, Barbara Cooper, has stressed there will be no internal border in Kent amid fears around the planned departure from the European Union at the end of December.

Goods vehicle drivers working within the county could be given their own travel pass. Stock picture
Goods vehicle drivers working within the county could be given their own travel pass. Stock picture

Her comments came during a KCC meeting yesterday after concerns were raised by councillors about contentious plans requiring lorries travelling to and from Europe to have special "Kent Access Permits" to get into the county.

Ms Cooper said: "There will not be physical border checks coming into Kent."

Instead, KCC is working with east Kent hauliers to give them a separate permit to make sure they do not get "caught up" in lengthy queues on the M20 and other main roads around Dover.

Speaking to KCC's transport committee, Ms Cooper said: "They will be given a pass that enables them to bypass those queues, so hopefully this would not stop the economy of Kent.

"What we are trying to do is make sure we don't have 'unready' trucks coming into Kent that then will serve to increase to the congestion."

The pass would Kent's lorry drivers to avoid Channel Tunnel congestion after the Brexit transition ends. Stock picture
The pass would Kent's lorry drivers to avoid Channel Tunnel congestion after the Brexit transition ends. Stock picture

On Wednesday, Cabinet minister Michael Gove set out the measure as the government aims to avoid a "reasonable worst-case scenario" which would see queues of up to 7,000 trucks crossing the English Channel from 2021.

For the Kent Access Permit, hauliers will be told to upload their paperwork and will then be given a green, amber or red pass to show whether they can progress onto the Port of Dover and Eurotunnel.

However, Kent county councillors have raised questions about the scheme's impact on the county's economy, potential travel disruption and curtailed movement of goods in the county.

Dover county councillor Nigel Collor (Con), who is the porfolio holder for transport at district level, said: "I appreciate the efforts made for local hauliers to not go to the back of the queue.

"But what about hauliers delivering supplies to towns and villages around the area? Will they get special dispensation to?"

Michael Gove set out the plans for a special permit for lorries to enter Kent (Aaron Chown/PA)
Michael Gove set out the plans for a special permit for lorries to enter Kent (Aaron Chown/PA)

His counterpart, KCC opposition member Cllr Anthony Hook (Lib Dem) added: "Can KCC in due course factor in the effects that a Kent Access Permit would have on Kent's economy?"

In response, Ms Cooper said her staff were working closely with lorry firms over the emergency plans and has pledged to protect Kent companies.

She added: "We want to make sure our local businesses are still able to go about their business and not get caught up in congestion on our main roads."

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