Government commitment to the creation of two key border operations in Dover will bring much-welcome investment and jobs to the area, and ensure a resilient border network for Kent, the Leader of Kent County Council said today.
The establishment of HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) and the Dover Port Health Authority (DPHA) facilities is expected to inject tens of millions of pounds into the local economy and generate hundreds of new employment opportunities.
The new HMRC facility, to be located on White Cliffs Business Park, will oversee border operations.
A new Port Health centre to carry out food, plant and animal product import checks to ensure they meet high UK safety standards will also be based in Dover, at a location yet to be confirmed.
Dover District Council, which runs the Port Health Authority, has started recruitment for the new service – with 30 new posts already filled and a further 40, ranging from technical officers to operational managers and team leaders, currently being sought.
The two Dover operations are in addition to the Inland Border Facility at Sevington which has similarly created investment, and over 130 jobs, for Ashford.
Welcoming the update, which was shared by government earlier on Monday, KCC Leader Roger Gough said: “This is excellent news for Kent.
“Today sees record investment in both Dover and Ashford, setting the county up for success in jobs and infrastructure through the Channel Ports, while also ensuring that there is a strong border network for our county.
“At MP, County Council and District Council level, we have worked hand in glove to deliver a smart, resilient solution, and millions of pounds of investment in our area.”
Cabinet Member for Economic Development Derek Murphy said: “By ensuring border facilities in East Kent are appropriately funded, and located, this double Brexit boost for Dover as we emerge from the uncertainty of the pandemic supports our vital Shorts Straits’ trade, and the county’s and country’s economies.
“I am glad that community views, and ours, continue to be listened too and it is now very important to get work underway and for remaining decisions to be taken as quickly as possible.
“With physical import checks due to come on stream in the new year, time is of the essence. It’s crucial we make the next six months count to make sure that the gateway to Europe, through which millions of trucks carrying billions of pounds-worth of freight pass every year, is ready to help the country keep goods flowing and shelves stocked.”