Posted January 3, 2019
But officials fear the plans will disrupt the genteel tourist destination by turning it into an industrial hub in a matter of months.
The project is set to be overseen by gaffe-prone Transport Secretary Chris Grayling.
One Whitehall insider told The Sun: “It’s getting people really worried - you’ll have massive HGVs going up and down this historic harbour.
“It could be a massive f***-up. We’re all imagining Chris Grayling at the helm of the digger.”
It emerged last month that the Government was considering expanding Ramsgate to cope with possible disruption at Dover, which is 20 miles away.
But now Whitehall and Cabinet sources have admitted that the plans would require dredging the harbour, because it’s currently too shallow to accommodate the freight ships which bring a large proportion of Britain’s imports from Europe.
The proposals are likely to be ditched if Theresa May’s Brexit deal is approved - but could be resurrected to cope with trade disruption in the future, one source said.
The Department for Transport insisted that the plans would cause little disruption to Ramsgate, pointing out that the port previously hosted ferry services as recently as 2013.
A spokesman also insisted dredging would be overseen by the local port authority rather than being directed by Mr Grayling personally - and added that the traffic going through Ramsgate would be just a tenth of that seen in Dover.
But Lib Dem MP Layla Moran from the pro-EU Best for Britain campaign blasted: "These No Deal plans are just dredging the barrel.
“Yesterday the Government gave a £14million ferry contract to a company with no ships and now they plan to fill Ramsgate with worries, traffic and congestion in a desperate attempt to stop the UK grinding to a halt.
"Ramsgate did not vote for all this, and if Brexiteers disagree with me, I'd dare them to go to the town and explain these plans to residents."
A spokesman for Thanet Council said: “We recognise that Ramsgate could play a role in supporting post-Brexit resilience by offering an alternative route for some cross-Channel traffic, to ensure at least some movement of goods should there be significant delays in Dover.
“We are aware that the Government is having discussions with other parties regarding contingency arrangements.”
Source: The Sun