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Essex post-Brexit lorry site gets government approval

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image captionIt is hoped the lorry site will be up and running by the new year

Plans for a lorry site for customs checks after Brexit have been approved.

The site, known as an Inland Border Facility, will be at North Weald Airfield in Essex.

It will have space for 53 HGV lorries, will be operational around the clock and most vehicle checks are expected to take a maximum of two hours.

Local Government minister Luke Hall said "the proposal would not be likely to have significant effect on the environment".

The plans were approved by Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government Robert Jenrick.

Negotiations are understood to be continuing between the airfield's owner, Epping Forest District Council, and HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) over the rent the government would pay for the site.

It is understood work will begin soon on part of the airfield with the aim that it will be operational from the end of the Brexit transition period on 1 January.

Under the planning application the temporary site will be operational until the end of 2022, with checks and inspections on imports and exports taking place there.

According to planning documents "a new vehicle inspection facility comprising a modular examination office and a larger steel framed and metal clad temporary building" will be built on the site and the UK Border Force will have a presence.

The council's Conservative deputy leader, Nigel Bedford, said: "The main message to take from the minister's approval of the HMRC application is that the Inland Border Facility at North Weald is on track to open on time."

Mr Hall said the proposal "would not be likely to have a significant effect on the environment" as all the structures would be temporary and reversible, and its location was close to the M11, M25 and A414.

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