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Government confirms Brexit lorry park at Manston is to be shut for good

The makeshift lorry park at Manston which opened last winter is to shut for good at the end of this month.

The government has confirmed it will not extend its use of the airport beyond June 30, when the current lease expires.

Lorries at Manston in December. Picture: UKNIP
Lorries at Manston in December. Picture: UKNIP

It was acquired as a contingency to provide a holding area when freight traffic was delayed during the transition period out of the European Union.

The sprawling site was used a Covid test site for thousands of lorry drivers over the Christmas period, with much disruption being caused over the festive season.

But for the past months, the sprawling site has rarely been used.

In March, it was decided lorries bound for the Channel ports would no longer be directed to Manston for customs checks or Covid tests.

And now, analysis of predicted tourist traffic levels during the summer and potential knock-on impact on freight traffic shows Manston's use is not required.

The site was originally set up to swab lorry drivers just before Christmas after the French authorities insisted no one could enter France without a negative test result.

It left thousands of hauliers stuck at Manston over Christmas, with the backlog only cleared when hundreds of soldiers were drafted in to help with testing.

Earlier this year shocking revelations of drug-taking, illicit sex and fake Covid results emerged involving employees brought in to manage the testing operation.

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