The government is insisting its plans to build a lorry park outside Ashford, Kent ahead of Brexit are not a repeat of its Stanford West lorry park project.

The park would have held 3,600 trucks but the plan was ditched in 2017 after the government decided not to fight a judicial review of the proposal.

The Ashford site, dubbed Mojo, is located just outside of Ashford, near junction 10A of the M20, and has enough space to park 10,000 trucks. Work began on the 27-acre site last week.

It is one of “10 to 12” customs posts which are to be built as part of a £470m programme to provide facilities to process freight to and from the EU, announced by Michael Gove, chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, earlier this month, along with a 206-page document detailing new border controls.

However like the Stanford West proposal, the Ashford plan has met with fierce opposition from residents along with vocal criticism from local Conservative MP Damien Green.

Writing to residents living near to the site last week, DfT minister Rachel Maclean said: "I would like to stress that there is no intention to develop the site as a permanent lorry holding facility for use in the event of cross-Channel disruption - this is not a revival of the previous plan for the site at Stanford West.

"Our intention is only to make use for these purposes of the western part of the site, which has previously been granted planning permission for commercial development.

"The Mojo site has been chosen due to its strategic location, with easy access to the M20, the primary corridor to and from key ports within the Dover Straits."

She added: “First, government departments envisage using it as a permanent site for facilities related to future border processes, notably HMRC (as an office of departure/arrival for goods moved under 'transit' arrangements) and Defra (as a border control post for goods needing sanitary and phytosanitary checks).

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"Second, the site may also be used as a contingency lorry holding area for the particular, foreseeable risk of significant disruption at the end of the transition period."

Maclean said the government "very much hopes to avoid significant traffic disruption on Kent roads at the end of the transition period," but added: "Significant problems at the border are not inevitable if businesses take the action necessary to prepare for the changes to come."

Of the 10 to 12 customs sites planned, just three have been identified as being under consideration. These are Manston Airport near Ramsgate, which has capacity for 5,800 trucks, an existing lorry park at Waterbrook Park in Ashford, which has space for about 950 lorries and the Mojo site outside Ashford.

There are also reports that a field in Dover has also been identified as a suitable site.

The site is understood to be next to the White Cliffs Business Park and will have capacity for 1,200 trucks, according to reports.

Over 10,000 lorries use the Dover-Calais crossing each day. Britain will reintroduce customs controls on goods moving to and from the European Union at the end of the year and for the first time in 30 years, making checks necessary even if the two sides reach a free trade agreement.

The RHA is warning that UK ports will still be in danger of becoming gridlocked when the UK exits the EU unless the government addresses the major shortage of UK customs intermediaries.

A DfT spokesman said: “Preparations for the end of the transition period are well underway to ensure the free flow of freight across our borders. This includes exploring options for permanent facilities to complete new border processes, as well as contingency plans in place to minimize any potential short-term disruption.”