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Two badly located Dover Border clearance sites will mean double trouble

The 2/7 press release from the Kent and Dover Conservatives in power + Ms Elphicke MP about 2 clearance / port health facilities is full of fantastic adjectives in a cynical, deceptive press release but it cannot hide the truth.

The fact that 2 surprise Conservative resignations from DDC happened in June 2021, may indicate that despite the fine words, not all local Conservatives are happy about how Conservative central govt is dumping double trouble on Dover. (Jamie Rose resigned as cllr for Alkham & Capel, by-election 22 July and senior cllr MJ Holloway cllr for Sandwich resigned 25 June, by-election expected early Aug.) Greens say YES to investment in real, well-paid jobs to build back healthier + fairer and NO to fibs, spin & fantasy.

SM banners over road

Many local parish councillors on local town and parish councils, senior people at the Port of Dover, staff and parents at the schools that will be beside the site of Whitecliffs Dover IBF, (Christchurch academy + Duke of Yorks Royal Military School + Guston + Whitfield primary schools) and the Dover Society, and many local residents have all said in 2021, RELOCATE DOVER IBF to A SAFER SITE, further inland where the A2 is already dualled, because it is logically impossible to have traffic + trucks flowing on the A2 in and out of the Dover IBF at the same time as 18months' worth of upgrading of the A2 (to make it dual-carriageway) between the Retail Park / Eastern Dock is happening.

Dover job seekers will benefit just as much if the Dover IBF job site is moved a couple of miles somewhere safer. Our expert clearance sources say, automated clearance means a couple of hundred clearance jobs from the red tape that is making British exporters' & importers jobs much more difficult, is the maximum to be expected and training will take a minimum of 6 months.

Mrs Elphicke treats Dover voters as mugs when she pretends that she has 'worked hard to ensure residents voices have been listened to'.

The Conservative (DDC & KCC) Press statement has not one mention of the resolution of 18 March 2021 (KCC Environment & Transport committee) whereby KCC was/ is to take over the leading role on Dover IBF from DfTransport. The statement 2/7 has not a single guarantee about any limitation on the numbers of trucks on either the White Cliffs Site or the Dover Town site, or about central govt bearing all the costs of both clearance sites and all additional infrastructure (not dumping cost on Kent tax payers).

On 2nd July, the determined, exemplary representatives of Guston Parish Council were informed by Cabinet Office (and have on 6 July made public to local residents),

  1. that DEFRA & port health checks will not take place at White Cliffs but a site with land for animals will be found in the port town (does this exist ?)
  2. White Cliffs retail park can expect a clearance facility to be designed and run by HMRC for 1000 HGVs on the western edge of the site (closer to Christchurch Academy and Dover Leisure Centre) on a quarter of the land hitherto considered, with construction to start summer 2022 (does this imply road works to upgrade A2 to dual-carriage in the 12 months before then, summer 2021 onwards?)

In Dover Town, the expansion at Motis FSA who do clearance and provide a much needed healthy truck stop for drivers has been very welcome in recent years. But there is not the space for it to expand within the port town. The lack of space and the promise that Dover Western Docks Revival (which benefitted from £40 million EU money) would not be reclaiming land from the sea just to park + clear hundreds of trucks on has been repeated for years. Are the powerful in London, who seem to plan for Dover over long lunches in wine-bars, unaware of these realities?

Dover is crying out for investment in serious long-term, living-wage jobs, in a town where 35% of children live in poverty and these jobs should be coming from investment to make all Dover town's homes healthy and cheap- to- heat. ITV has exposed the reality of Britain's damp and mouldy homes, private rented or socially rented. Dover suffers problems like these and needs sustained, long-term public investment in JOBS to build new healthy low-cost urban homes & to refurbish homes.

ITV's Joel Hills has exposed the problems of food delivery shortages because of huge shortages of HGV drivers. There is talk of the army needing to be called in to drive food around.

Dover Farmers are very aware of the problems of lack of pickers for fruit and veg and of the problems that the Australia / Uk trade deal represents for British food and farming standards; evidence of a drop in our UK food security.

Dover + Kent Conservative councillors, & Ms Elphicke are taking deception to new heights in this press release, when they bleat on about high food standards and the same job opportunities they have referred to since Oct 2020 when they admitted to knowing of these central govt plans (published July 2020).

The reality is far different from the 'victory' the MP and DDC boast of. UNITE union have shown how our valued HGV drivers are bearing the brunt in Kent. Last month PCS union spokesperson for SE Border Force has said that his border force colleagues are at breaking point, and it is well known that the UK govt has failed to provide functional IT systems needed to manage UK borders.

Any DDC, or Kent, councillor, any MP, who denies this evidence, is trying to pull a fast one; we Dovorians smell double trouble ahead.