Leaders of County Hall have concerns Brexit could lead to pressure on Kent’s roads

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LEADERS of the County Hall are wary of how Brexit negotiations could impact on trade passage through Kent.

Paul Carter, Leader of the Conservative-led Kent County Council, has called on his own government to establish a border that is ‘as frictionless as possible’.

This is because Britain’s departure from the European Union will likely see increased border and customs checks, which will slow down the flow of transport.

He spoke out shortly before David Davis stepped down as Brexit Secretary, to be replaced by Dominic Raab. Freight traffic on the M20, Kent’s major motorway to the Channel, is routinely brought to a complete standstill to ease gridlock at Dover in Operation Stack.

Cllr Carter said: ‘Kent, as the major point of entry into the UK, will experience a far greater impact of any change to border and customs arrangements compared to other area.

‘However, if negotiations do not go as planned and there are delays at the point of entry, Kent will undoubtedly be exposed to disruption.

‘The county council hopes that frictionless borders can be maintained which will not lead to delays and disruption at the ports.

‘However, should this disruption arise, contingency plans covering ports and highways infrastructure need to be in place.’

The Conservative Leader said he wanted an alternative to Operation Stack, which disrupted Kent’s economy when it was enacted in summer 2015.

As part of the EU negotiations, he has also called for measures to ensure trading standards and border security are boosted.

County councillors will vote on the authority’s Brexit position after further discussions in a meeting, which is set to be held in Maidstone tomorrow [Thursday, July 12].

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