‘It’s just this massive lit-up area,’ one resident says
Residents have also complained the bright lights at the site – set up to cater for potential border disruption after the UK left the single market- are constantly switched on.
One local has claimed they can be seen from a nearby village several miles away at night.
Questions have also been raised about why a study on the impact of the site on the environment has not yet been released by the government.
The controversial lorry park – officially known as an “inland border facility” – is located beside the M20 in Sevington, a suburb of Ashford in Kent, and is still under construction.
Initially set up to hold around 1,700 lorries in case of Brexit border disruption, it is currently being used as a Covid-19 testing site for hauliers as well as HMRC checks.
Mandy Rossi, who lives in nearby Willesborough, said the inland border facility is “hideously ugly” and has taken “a massive, massive chunk” out of the landscape.
The local Green Party co-ordinator said the bright lights can be seen from up to four miles away.
“It’s just this massive lit-up area,” she said.
“The lights can be seen for miles and are as bright as Wembley Stadium. If you go to Wye, which is on top of the hill, at night time, all you can see is the lorry park.”
People living near the site have also complained about lorries being given the postcode for the site but getting lost in the village of Mersham.
Local councillor Paul Bartlett, whose garden is 25 yards away from the lorry park, told PA that it has been a “rocky road”, with things going both well and wrong.
“I suppose the biggest issue is the lorries that are looking for the lorry park and are struggling to find it,” he said.
He said HGVs arrive in the village only to find they cannot get to the site and then have to turn round in the narrow roads.
Asked about the light pollution, the Tory councillor said it has had “a dramatic detrimental effect on the dark sky that we are used to”.
Inland border facilities have been set up in various sites across the UK and are designed for customs and document checks to take place away from ports.
Towards the end of last year before any sites became operational, nearby residents told The Independent about their concerns of the potential effect on communities, including the impact on the environment and local traffic.
A Department for Transport spokesperson said: “We are aware of residents’ concerns and have acted to minimise disturbance by turning off the lights in one of the most public sections of the site as well as commissioning a detailed lighting survey to better understand the issue and develop a plan to address it.”
Additional reporting by Press Association