Earlier today Barry Gardiner MP, the Shadow Secretary of State for International Trade, visited the Port of Dover and joined me in a tour of the Port and the fast-moving Western Dock development project.
Barry and I enjoyed a meeting with Richard Everitt, Chairman of the Port of Dover, in which all parties agreed that any ‘no deal’ scenario would not only be hugely problematic for the Port, but also for Dover town itself and wider Kent infrastructure. During the meeting tariff structures were discussed, as well as useful briefs on discussions that had been had with counterparts in Calais.
We later considered maps in the ’emergency room’ currently left empty, with blank action boards, ready for a potential breakdown in customs infrastructure and queues in 2019.
Barry and I also visited the Western Dock development, which has some excellent local employment statistics. Things are moving so fast there and I can’t wait to see things in 2019. I did raise my huge concerns about the Goodwin Sands being dredged for this project, and asked if a rise in the Port’s grant from the government could mitigate the need for the dredge. I also asked Richard Everitt for clarification on the actual extra cost to the project if the dredge were in area 501 instead of in the important eco-structure of the Sands. Mr. Everitt admitted that the varying costs cited by the media had been confusing; a recent letter to Michael Gove sent by the Save Our Sands campaign has asked for the actual figures. I’m sure all parties will be glad of greater clarity when Mr. Gove replies.