The Leader of Kent County Council has warmly welcomed news its £45m bid to the government’s Levelling Up Fund to improve traffic flow to the EU through the Port of Dover has been successful.
Roger Gough said enhancements, which will include additional border control points and a new exit route, will not only have a positive impact on Dover and the surrounding area but on Kent and its economy as a whole.
Speaking on a day when industrial action in France has affected cross channel services, Mr Gough said: “The success of the Dover Access Improvements bid is excellent news for Dover itself, for East Kent and for the county, and a real attempt to deal with the disruption and difficulties that we all know only too well when problems arise at the border.
“It is very much concerned with issues in and around the Port of Dover, to try to improve the fluidity of traffic with security checks more logically arranged, a buffer zone so you can get a lot more queuing traffic off the roads, a doubling of the border control posts and a new exit route. However, there is a much wider impact on Kent and the Kent economy and the ability of our residents to go about their daily lives without being disrupted by these huge snarl ups we get whenever Operation Brock has to be called in.
“I can’t promise on the back of this that that will never happen again, and no one thing is a silver bullet for this issue, but this can be seen as a major step forward.
“Given the new border arrangements for the European Union, the so-called Entry Exit System or EES, which may well be coming in later this year, it is doubly important that we focus on this issue.”
KCC’s is one of five projects in Kent to be awarded in total a £123m share of the £2.1bn fund, including a second one for Dover – the Dover Beacon project to transform a brownfield site in the town centre.
Cllr Trevor Bartlett, Leader of Dover District Council, said: “This is tremendous news for Dover and a recognition from the Government of the need to level up Dover as the UK’s gateway town. Today’s announcement sees the highest level of funding in the country, with the two projects delivering a combined investment of over £63 million in the future of Dover town centre and the Port of Dover.”
Doug Bannister, CEO, Port of Dover, said: “This is a great day for the port and for Dover.
“I am incredibly grateful to Kent County Council for their invaluable support on this, and to Natalie Elphicke for championing our cause on securing such significant funding to help deliver our important Outbound Controls Project.
“This will be a transformational project, delivering the next evolution of Britain’s busiest ferry terminal with a reconfigured layout and enhanced border control points to help secure traffic flow and capacity for the long term.
“Today is a celebration of many things. It is recognition of the Port’s fundamental economic role in supporting levelling up across the nation. It is also a demonstration by the government of its commitment to our future success and that of Dover and Kent more widely. As such, I also offer my sincere congratulations to our partners at Dover District Council for their successful funding bid. Together, such investment in the people, town and port of Dover marks a bright new chapter for us all.”
Natalie Elphicke, MP for Dover, said: “Severe delays at the Port have a huge impact on residents and businesses in our community. This important investment will help Keep Dover clear and port traffic running more smoothly. It will make a huge difference to us locally.”