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Government buys Ashford 'Brexit lorry park' site

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image captionWork is due to begin on fencing off the site near Ashford this week

A 27-acre site in Kent which opponents fear could be used for a post-Brexit "lorry park" has been bought by the government.

In a letter to residents living near the site off the M20 in Ashford, the Department for Transport (DfT) said it was planning "two primary uses".

Transport Minister Rachel Maclean said the site could be used as a border control post or temporary lorry park.

Ashford MP Damian Green said the site was in the wrong place.

In her letter to residents, Ms Maclean wrote: "Government departments envisage using it as a permanent site for facilities related to future border processes.

"The site may also be used as a contingency lorry holding area for the particular, foreseeable risk of significant disruption at the end of the transition period."

Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove previously said it was not the intention to create a massive concrete lorry park.

image captionLocal MP Damian Green is worried about the noise and pollution the site would generate

Mr Green, the Conservative MP for Ashford, has opposed the plans to use the site as a "lorry park" because of how close it would be to new housing developments and possible effects on access to the town's William Harvey Hospital.

But he said he would not be against using some of the site for border-related checks.

"I accept they need to be done somewhere that is near to the motorway," he said earlier this week.

"That won't affect local traffic, local air pollution and I think that's a much more acceptable proposal than a temporary park for thousands of lorries."

A DfT spokeswoman said: "This site will form part of our ongoing plans to help ensure the free flow of freight at the border as we make our new start at the end of the transition period."

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