The government has granted itself emergency planning permission to build ‘temporary’ lorry parks to avoid congestion at ports resulting from extra checks that will be required if, as expected, the UK and the EU can’t agree a trading deal: Boris Johnson’s government is preparing to build dozens of Brexit lorry parks in anticipation of border chaos. Unsurprisingly, given Thurrock’s role as a major port plus it’s location on the route down to Dover, the borough has been selected as one of the locations for a lorry park: Government use powers to build Brexit lorry parks (with one ear-marked for Thurrock). Even more unsurprising is that although talks have taken place between Thurrock Council and consultants working on behalf of the government, the leader of the council, Cllr. Rob Gledhill (Tory) is refusing to confirm the proposed location of the lorry park: Thurrock Labour leader wants more transparency over Brexit Lorry Park.
Even though for any astute observer, it’s been on the cards for years that the UK and EU would not be able to agree a mutually beneficial trade deal, preparations for the consequences of this for lorry movements appears to be a bit last minute. Which may explain why the government has granted itself planning permission to plonk lorry parks where it sees fit without having to consult local council officers – ’emergency’ and all that. If local council officers are getting bypassed, then residents who object to yet another lorry park in Thurrock and the attendant vehicle movements have been left completely voiceless.
Thurrock already has one of the worst levels of air pollution in the country. The role of Thurrock as a port and logistics hub does play a part in that, albeit we do acknowledge the efforts being made to shift some of this traffic onto rail. Having the M25 running through the western half of the borough to and from the Dartford River Crossing adds to these pollution levels. It was concern about air pollution that drove the opposition to the Lower Thames Crossing. Concerns which appear to have been swept aside as preparatory works on the crossing get underway.
Given all of this, having a sodding great ‘temporary’ lorry park foisted upon us by government diktat is a kick in the teeth residents could do without. Particularly as we’ve no idea where this lorry park will be located. Presumably, it will be located somewhere pretty handy for getting on and off the major road network. After a few years of use when things hopefully ‘settle down’ in terms of trade between the UK and the EU and the lorry park becomes redundant in dealing with these trade issues, can we really believe the guarantees that this won’t morph into a permanent logistics facility? Call us cynical but we find it hard to believe that the land used for any ‘temporary’ lorry park in Thurrock would be lovingly restored back to its former state.
We’re sure there will be some Remainers / Re-joiners looking at this scenario, noting that Thurrock voted heavily in favour of leaving the EU, gleefully saying that we’re now getting our just desserts. We’d like to tell these classist Remainers / Re-joiners to piss off in no uncertain terms. One of the reasons many people voted to leave the EU was to get away from what they saw as top down edicts. Many Leavers in Thurrock will not be happy to note that it’s now the UK government doing what the f**k it likes without the slightest nod to local opinion. That’s not what they voted for.
Such is the nature of governance, regardless of whether it’s national as with the UK or supra-national such as the EU – the opinions of us mere plebs don’t matter a damn to them. Maybe it’s time us plebs made these bastards take some notice of us…