The government has scrapped a £28m inland border facility, which was due to be built by Galliford Try.
In an update to its inland border plans, HMRC announced that after looking into the volume of “cross-channel traffic” at Dover and the need for customs checks, the government had decided not to press ahead with a new facility, adding that the move would save £120m.
The Department for Transport (DfT) is, however, exploring alternative options for the site.
It said: “The review showed that the existing facilities have enough capacity to deal with the flow of traffic and therefore a new site was not necessary […]
“The decision to not build the Inland Border Facility does not mean that this asset is no longer required by the government. The DfT is now exploring alternative options for its development to ease pressure at the border, given issues with disruption on the strategic road network in Kent and at the ports.”
Galliford Try had signed a pre-construction contract for the site, which had a contract value of £28m, at White Cliffs – close to the A2 in Kent, and the villages of Guston and Whitfield.
The 15ha site was intended for customs checks, physical inspections, and the clearance of goods entering and leaving the UK.
Alongside the announcement to scrap the Dover facility, HMRC has decided to close the Birmingham and North Weald IBF sites ahead of schedule.
These IBF sites were introduced on a temporary basis to support customs checks when the UK first left the EU. But HMRC said the interim sites were not needed now that facilities in Holyhead and Sevington are fully operational.
The road system in Kent, in particular the stretch through Dover, has come under considerable strain since the UK decided to leave the EU, with customs controls enacted from the beginning of 2021.