Nothing quite prepares you for the sheer scale of the Sevington site where lorries are processed on their way to France. Now that much of the concrete is laid and all the lanes for the trucks are built it seems oddly even larger than it did when it was just a building site.
I visited at the end of last week, and the best news is that the system was working as smoothly as possible. This is good news for all of us, not just the truck drivers, because it means that traffic comes off the motorway and into the site without causing problems, and then comes out and back on to the M20 with the same ease. So no traffic problems in the immediate vicinity.
The drivers come in and if they haven’t had a Covid test earlier in their journey they are tested in their cabs. Friday was the last day when the army were carrying out the tests, and we can all be grateful for the work they have done. They were training the civilians who are taking over from this week.
The next step is to check that their export papers are in order, are then they can go on their way. Only about 2-3% of trucks are turning up without the proper paperwork, which helps a lot in keeping things moving.
At the same time as this continues, the HMRC buildings are being finished so that inward-bound trucks can be checked. This will start at the beginning of next month. Also work is about to start on the DEFRA buildings that will be used to check animals and foodstuffs leaving the country, which will come into commission at the beginning of July.
There are still some satnav-fixated drivers getting lost in Mersham or Sevington village, but happily these are now rare. Otherwise, our worst fears about what might happen have not been realised, which is a tribute to everyone involved with the Sevington project.