28 JUL 2016

My plan for investment to restore order at the border

Once again Dover was plunged into traffic chaos over the weekend as 14-hour queues built up at the port. The delays were caused by French border officials. Our Government was warned this situation was developing. It should have been prepared. But the Government was caught sleeping at the wheel. This must change.

It's always the same story. Every year we have a nightmare on roads, whether it's caused by French workers striking, bad weather or even migrants storming the Port of Calais. Every year the people of Dover suffer and feel trapped. We can't carry on like this. It's wrong for people to be stuck for 14 hours in the sweltering heat. Nor can be stand by while the lifeblood is sucked out of Dover. We need a plan to restore order at the border.

We must start by ridding Dover of gridlock. We can no longer tolerate tailbacks in the town. Port traffic needs to be moved into a tunnel. This would mean the people of Dover would be able to move around. While the Dover town centre could once again be connected with its stunning seafront. Dover town would be transformed - the pride of the White Cliffs and a Jewel in the crown of the nation.

Road capacity has to increase. Dover is the busiest ferry port in the World. Incredibly the A2 into Dover from the North is just a single track road. Meanwhile the M20 peters out at Folkestone and turns into an A road. We need full motorways, able to handle port traffic at all times.

After last year's annual Kent traffic crisis, the Government finally agreed to build a car and lorry park. It's still on the drawing board. They need to stop dithering and get on with it. We need the park to get traffic off the roads when disaster strikes. That way the people of Kent will be able to go about their business while weary travellers can get food, water and go to the toilet.

Finally it's time we had major investment in the port and town of Dover. The British Government has handed over tens of millions of pounds to Calais to help bolster their borders. Now we need investment at home. The port must be able to hold more traffic and do security checks more efficiently. The Government must help connect our town to our harbour. Yet investment cannot stop at the seafront. It must be used to transform our town centre and give us the foundations upon which to build something great. To create Destination Dover. Our town has a proud history. Now it it's time to build its future.

To restore order at the border: Dig a tunnel. Fix our roads. Bust the gridlock. And make Dover the destination it deserves to be.


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Charlie Elphicke

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