Ashford – Sevington Inland Border Facility


This page provides an opportunity for interested individuals and organisations to view information about the Sevington Inland Border Facility.

The site acts as a location for starting and ending transit movements of goods from the UK. The site includes parking areas for HGVs and other vehicles as well as security measures and facilities to enable the checking of vehicles and goods entering and exiting the site.

The submission relating to the Government’s proposals for the Sevington Inland Border Facility was approved by the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) in December 2020. As such, the site at Sevington is in use as an inland border facility as of 1 January 2021 for up to five years. The site is also subject to construction and operational management plans which have now been approved.

The original decision notice relating to MHCLG’s 2020 approval of the SDO application is available to view here

This original decision was superseded by a further decision to facilitate the dual operation of Waterbrook and Sevington. This decision notice is available to view here

A further planning submission to MHCLG will be made this autumn, covering proposed changes relating to operational requirements. The details of these changes are set out in the sections below.

Contact us

If you have a specific concern, please contact us using the email below:

Planning Documents

In November 2020, DfT sought permission under ‘The Town and Country Planning (Border Facilities and Infrastructure) (EU Exit) (England) Special Development Order 2020’ for the use of land and associated works pertaining to an Inland Border Facility in Sevington. The application was supported by planning documents outlining the impacts of developing an Inland Border Facility at the site. Following the Secretary of State for Housing Communities and Local Government’s agreement to the application, DfT is now releasing the following planning documents which accompanied and informed this Inland Border Facility proposal. Individual names and other security sensitivities have been redacted.

Analysis of the Likely Environmental Effects of the Development

Appendix A Environmental Constraints Plan

Appendix B Transport Assessment

Appendix D Air Quality Impact Assessment

Appendix E Cultural Heritage Assessment

Appendix F Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment

Site location map

Inland border facility location

This site is located to the south east of Ashford at junction 10a of the M20, approximately 50 miles south east of London.

Hauliers can access the site via the A2070 dual carriageway, which is adjacent to junction 10a of the M20.

The site has a single access point with separate entrance and exit lanes. There is a signalised junction on the A2070.

November 2021 Update: Site Information Materials

Further details about the Sevington Inland Border Facility are available to view in an Information Booklet which can be downloaded here:

19th February 2021 – Resident Letter

November 2021 – Information Booklet

To help ensure HGV drivers are using appropriate routes to access Sevington IBF that do not impact on local villages, a Directional Leaflet for drivers has been produced.

The leaflets have been circulated to the Road Haulage Association and their equivalents in all European countries, Logistics UK as well as the DVSA hauliers mailing list. This leaflet is available in 14 different languages and can be viewed and downloaded here

Community Updates

News and updates for the local community regarding the Sevington Inland Border Facility are available to view below.

11 November 2021

Earlier this year, we communicated our intention to submit a planning proposal to set out how Defra would begin sanitary & phytosanitary (SPS) inspections on food, live animals and plant consignments inbound to the UK from 1 July 2021, formerly known as ‘Day 200’ of operations on site.

We wish to update you that inspections on these commodities from Eurotunnel and the Port of Dover will now begin next year, in July 2022, and our planning proposal must be updated to reflect this change. This proposal, known as Sevington 3, remains as originally stated. Defra’s operation will be undertaken at the border control post (BCP) building in the middle of the site, which will be jointly shared with HMRC.

15 April 2021

We wanted to inform you of the Kent County Council Public Path Order consultation for paths affected by the Sevington Inland Border Facility. Directions for making representations regarding the Order may be found in the public notice, available here. Representations may be made until 14 May 2021.

April 2021

Over approximately the next three weeks, there will be increased HGV vehicle movements along Church Road. The vehicles will be moving a portion of the topsoil currently stored on land to the east of Highfield Lane to the Sevington IBF area. The purpose of the topsoil movement is to assist with finalising the development of the Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) water retention ponds located at the southwest corner of the site, adjacent to Church Road.

Vehicle movement will be limited to current construction hours between 08:00 and 18:00 on weekdays and 08:00 and 13:00 on Saturdays. Flow of vehicles in and out of the site will be managed to ensure minimal impact on users of Church Road. Every effort will be made to control the noise and dust as much as we are able to.

We sincerely apologise for the inconvenience this may cause.

April 2021

In March 2021 the Department for Transport (DfT) made a further planning submission for the Sevington inland border facility to implement changes to the site in support of operations.

22nd February 2021

Since the previous round of engagement, operational requirements for Defra have changed. In view of these proposed changes, the Department for Transport (DfT) is making a new submission for the inland border facility to increase the footprint of the Defra buildings and provide supplementary containers to enable sanitary & phytosanitary (SPS) checks to be undertaken on food, live animals and plant consignments inbound to the UK.

These changes will support Defra’s operations on the site from July 2021. As previously planned, Defra will occupy an area at the centre of the site and will share responsibility for the site with HMRC from July 2021. DfT is engaging with the local community and technical stakeholders about the proposed changes.

1st January 2021

The Sevington Inland Border facility is now operational, enabling the safe and efficient processing of customs paperwork relating to international freight movement.

The operations of the inland border facility will continue to be carefully managed in accordance with the requirements of the approved Operational Management Plan (OMP). This includes the ongoing monitoring of traffic flows and site usage in conjunction with the local highway authority and Highways England.

As part of ongoing traffic management, signage has been used on local and strategic road networks to enable HGV drivers and staff to navigate to the site. Signage on site also provides contact information for any possible issues.

Engagement from Government departments with key stakeholders is ongoing to ensure that they are kept informed regarding operations on site. Further information for hauliers and guidance on attending an Inland Border Facility is available here

24th December 2020

In order to assist with delivery of the Ashford sites, we are seeking approval for the temporary operation of both Sevington and Waterbrook in parallel for a temporary period and on a limited basis from 1 January 2021 until the end of February 2021. It is proposed that HMRC function (customs checks) would be carried out at Waterbrook during this period with DfT traffic management and HGV border readiness checks happening at Sevington. It is important to note that the total level of activity across the two sites would be no more than that proposed just on the Sevington site in terms of total HGV movements. As we stated during the engagement period, there is no intention to operate both sites fully as inland border facilities at the same time. Further consideration has been given to the potential environmental effects of both sites operating on this limited basis. We have concluded that there would not be any significant impacts from this and no greater effects than those assessed previously with only one of the sites in operation.

23rd October 2020

We wanted to let you know that we will be commencing some construction works on the site under the existing temporary planning permission. These works will be carried out under the current Special Development Order for the site which expires on the 31st of December 2020.  

You may see some site set up works starting from 26 October, with construction works commencing. from 2 November 2020. 

This work is important to ensure that the site can be ready for the 1st of January 2021 to help support readiness for the end of the transition period. Inland border facilities form an essential part of our preparations to manage any potential disruption and ensure the free flow of goods in and out of the UK.

All works will be carried out in accordance with an approved construction management plan in order to minimise any potential impacts upon local residents.  

Construction and Operations

An Operational Management Plan (OMP) has been developed for the inland border facility. The OMP explains the tasks involved in safely managing and operating the site in a manner to reduce the potential for any adverse impacts on site or locally. It provides a framework of guidance to all site users and describes in detail the arrangements for delivering the intended services. A non-technical summary of the OMP can be viewed here

A Construction Management Plan (CMP) has been developed for the inland border facility. The CMP explains how construction works will be managed. It also ensures that possible impacts that may arise from the works have been appropriately identified and mitigated. The CMP for the inland border facility is available to view here

Proposed Changes

Many inbound food, live animal and plant consignments to the UK require sanitary & phytosanitary (SPS) checks to be carried out. These are measures to protect humans, animals, and plants from diseases, pests or contaminants. Legislation states that the checks must be at a designated Border Control Post (BCP).

The Government is constructing BCPs where a port is unable to build within its own boundary. The BCP at Sevington will support the Port of Eurotunnel to carry out inspections on live animals, plants and products from animal and plant origin.

The BCP will be biosecure to prevent cross contamination, be temperature controlled and will operate under strict procedures to inspect, store and transfer imported consignments. A range of checks will be carried out by specialist inspectors from the Food Standards Agency, Animal and Plant Health Agency and the Port Health Authority to ensure good animal welfare and minimum delays for perishable good and animal welfare.

Currently plannedProposed changesDetails
Seven Defra BCP buildings of up to 10m in heightNine Defra BCP buildings of up to 8.5m in heightThe increase in BCP facilities will support new space requirements for checks of inbound food, live animal and plant consignments to the UK. The maximum height requirements would be less than what is currently approved. The finish of the building will use a muted colour palette
Approximately 950 HGV parking baysThis will decrease to approximately 810 HGV parking baysThe reduced HGV parking capacity will provide the additional space required for Defra BCP facilities. The removal of HGV space will not impact operational requirements
Temporary Covid-19 testing facility for driversThe temporary Covid-19 testing facility for drivers will remain, however the need for the facility will be reviewed on an ongoing basisThe Covid-19 testing facility may not be necessary for the entire operational period of the inland border facility and will therefore be subject to ongoing reviews as new information emerges
No plans for Defra refrigerated semi-trailersProvision of up to 24
refrigerated semi-trailers
within the Defra facility
Provision of refrigerated semi-trailers to support Defra BCP operations
No plans for HMRC
Provision of several containers
(possibly five or more) within
the HMRC facility
Provision of containers for storage to support HMRC operations
No plan for temporary
construction compounds
Provision of two temporary
construction compounds
Provision of two temporary construction compounds to support development of the BCP and to facilitate the movement of soil from the Eastern Plot

Traffic flow and access

Directing vehicles to the inland border facility

HGV traffic accesses the site via Junction 10A of the M20 motorway.

From London, the Midlands, the East of England and the North of England
HGVs travelling eastbound on the M20 to the inland border facility will exit the M20 at Junction 10a, via the southbound off-slip onto the A2070.

From Folkestone, Dover and Dover Straits ports
HGVs travelling westbound on the M20 inbound from the Dover Straits ports will follow road signage to exit the M20 at junction 10A via the northbound off-slip onto the A2070.

Prominent road signage

Prominent road signage has been installed that directs HGV drivers to and from the Inland Border Facility.

Signs are in place at the site entrance to advise hauliers about the use of site facilities and providing site contact details.

The signage strategy was approved as part of the OMP.

Entry and exit points at the facility

The new site access junction is located on the A2070, approximately 225m west and downstream of junction 10a, south of the M20.

Information for hauliers

Information for hauliers attending the Sevington Inland Border Facility is available to view here

Operation Brock

Operation Brock is a Kent traffic management system that can be deployed to manage the flow of HGVs and reduce traffic congestion in the event of cross-Channel disruption. It was developed by National Highways, the Kent Resilience Forum (KRF) and DfT in 2018 as an alternative to Operation Stack in preparation for the UK’s departure from the European Union. It was revised in readiness for the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020.

Operation Brock has multiple phases that can be activated depending on the scale of the disruption. Unlike Operation Stack, it allows the M20 to remain open for general, though reduced, use by passenger vehicles through the use of a ‘contraflow’ in which HGVs can be queued. This contraflow is deployed using a moveable barrier between junctions 8 and 9 of the M20. The existing approval allows the site to be used for Operation Brock, should it be required.

Access & vehicle movement plan

View of the landscape from the Sevington site

Environment and landscaping

The inland border facility proposals are temporary and are designed to ensure no significant long-term environmental effects.

Given the temporary nature of the inland border facility, reinstatement plans will be prepared for implementation when activities at the inland border facility cease. Opportunities for longer term environmental enhancements will be included in the reinstatement plans.

A phased landscape strategy is being implemented at the site which will help reduce any potential adverse environmental effects. The landscaping is also reducing the visual impact of the inland border facility on local residents and the installation of landscape plans and noise barriers is reducing noise impacts. The eastern land parcel is being used to store subsoil and topsoil temporarily. A further Article 4 submission will be coming forwards to address the use of the subsoil on site, and to set out the next steps for the eastern land parcel.

As part of the existing approval, a study of the likely environmental effects report was produced. This study considered air quality, cultural heritage, landscape and visual effects, biodiversity, road drainage and water, and noise. The study also considered geology and soils, material assets and waste, population and health, and climate. The results indicated that there would be no significant environmental effects resulting
from the inland border facility site. This same technical information will be submitted for the purposes of the new planning submission and will be supplemented by additional assessment where required to consider the minor design changes to the inland border facility site.

The retained hedge along Highfield Lane

Frequently asked questions

What is the role of the inland border facility?

The site acts as a location for checking movements of goods inbound (Defra and HMRC) and outbound (HMRC only). Each location includes parking areas for HGVs and other vehicles as well as security measures and facilities to enable the checking of vehicles and goods entering and exiting the sites. There are also temporary office buildings, staff and driver welfare amenities.

Why this location?

With its location on the M20, approximately 80km (50 miles) south east of London and 30km (19 miles) west of Dover, the site provides direct connectivity to the Dover Straits ports, including the Port of Dover and the Eurotunnel.

Will construction and operation of the site impact
local communities?

HGVs that access the site do not pass by residential properties. Landscaping is being established to provide mitigation from visual impacts and the installation of noise barriers will mitigate against noise impacts. Engagement with community neighbours adjacent to the site will be ongoing throughout the process.

What type of vehicles use the inland border facility?

The inland border facility is used by HGVs, cars and vans, including staff vehicles.

Are refrigerated vehicles expected at the inland border facility?

Provision is available for refrigerated vehicles. No idling is permitted by vehicles as engines of all stationary vehicles must be switched off while on site. Refrigerated vehicles may plug in to power hook ups on site should they need to maintain temperature while on site.

Are vehicles being inspected at the inland border facility?

There are inspection bays on site and the time required for each varies. HGVs called to the site for SPS checks may be subject to documentary, visual and physical inspections. Inspections on site (conducted by HMRC or Defra) may take up to eight hours.

Is this site needed in addition to the Waterbrook site?

The dual use of Sevington and Waterbrook sites as inland border facilities sites ceased in February 2021. Waterbrook will remain as a contingency measure in the event that the Sevington site is not available until the 31 December 2022.

Will consignments be unloaded at the inland border facility?

There are examination facilities on site, and it is anticipated that some consignments that are brought to the site will need a physical examination by both HMRC and Defra.

Are any hazardous materials brought on to the inland border facility?

An Operational Management Plan has been developed for the inland border facility which explains how the site will be managed and operated safely, including in relation to any hazardous materials. A summary of the OMP is available here

How is traffic managed?

The number of HGVs that can be stationed at Sevington at any one time is limited to 1,700 for 6 months, reducing to 950 HGVs after July 2021.

Traffic impacts on the local and strategic road network have been assessed and managed in conjunction with local and national stakeholders.

There is ongoing monitoring and reporting of any traffic effects on neighbouring roads caused by vehicles travelling to and from the Sevington Inland Border Facility. Where necessary, mitigation is implemented through the Traffic Management Plan (TMP).