By Local Democracy Reporter Ciaran Duggan
Kent County Council (KCC) has warned the government there is “still much to do” for Brexit as it seeks to resolve outstanding logistical issues over the next 28 days.
Chiefs at KCC say necessary preparations have not been completed ahead of the UK’s looming deadline for the end of the European Union (EU) transition period on December 31.
Concerns have been raised that Whitehall’s HGV online system, which will give hauliers permission to cross the Channel into France, has not been “fully tested” while it remains unclear how Kent will deal with queues of more than 7,000 lorries.
KCC leader Roger Gough (Con) will present another Brexit report to councillors next Thursday. He will lay out the “remaining risks” faced by the county as he stresses the need for the Conservative Government to take decisive action.
In the 12-page document, he says: “With 28 days to go until the EU Transition period ends on December 31, there is still much to do to complete the preparations.
“We are relying on Government to provide medical and welfare facilities at each of the key sites, to ensure that a fully tested ‘Check an HGV service’ online system is ready and functional for hauliers to be able to cross the Channel as smoothly as possible.
“We also need Government to provide details of how it will deal with levels of freight that exceed Kent’s capacity.”
At least five Brexit lorry parks will act as customs checkpoints for hauliers who do not have the right documents when they enter Kent from January 1. They include Ebbsfleet railway station near Dartford, Manston airport and two sites in Ashford.
Negotiations continue to purchase another site in Dover, which is expected to be completed by HMRC over the next two weeks.
Whitehall bosses say they are seeking an EU free trade agreement to allow free travel of hauliers into Europe.
A Department for Transport spokesman said: “Preparations for the end of the EU transition period are well underway to ensure the free flow of freight across our borders.
“We are working closely with the Kent Resilience Forum on their local traffic management plans and have provided over £60million for Highways England to help keep traffic flowing on the M20 by creating a movable barrier.
“This builds on the £705m of Government investment announced in July for border related infrastructure, jobs and technology as part of the preparations.”
Local emergency planning group, the Kent Resilience Forum, continue to work with UK and French police forces to ensure “sharing” of information on congestion on each side of the channel.
Huge queues built up on the M20 last week after French trials were conducted for post-Brexit procedures.
Meanwhile, KCC continue to seek temporary powers from the DfT to enforce against HGVs parking on residential streets in East Kent, Swale and Maidstone.
Haulage companies based in East Kent will be supplied with a local permit to enable them to travel directly to the ports. Fines of up to £300 will be issued for lorries who fail to have a Kent Access Permit, which is not yet prepared.
The UK Government says a demo site can be tested by hauliers via ps://check-an-hgv-
Maidstone County Hall councillors will discuss the Kent Brexit situation at a virtual full council meeting in seven days’ time from 10am.
It’s obvious that KCC councillors are remainers who want to stay in the EU they have had plenty of time to prepare for this.in modern times we do not need heavy goods vehicles on our roads as they are the highest polluters.we never had this when we had rail heads around the country in the UK where containers were unloaded in one area and travelled by rail to wherever that container was going then unloaded in the local are and distribution took place.
Usual Brexiteer referring to some mythical past. Containerisation only became widespread in the 70s and then these were imports. Rail freight declined markedly in the 1960s.
No one has had time to prepare for Brexit because your Brexity Government has been totally useless at negotiating an access agreement with the EU.
Not true, in fact Beeching’s report wanted to close all small depts and trip working and open large automated marshalling yards. That too failed. Speedlink wagon load services closed as did Red Star after privatisation.
Today only train load freight goes by rail.
You are thinking of Ireland where some small container facilities were opened. Never happened here.
KCC are Tories this = Brexiteer.
I think you are trying to make the unworkable viable and that’s the truth of Brexit.
Brexit was, and is, and will be a disaster for the UK.
It was foist upon us by David Cameron, scared of his back benches and Nigel Farage.
A tiny majority voted in favour of leaving the EU: to make Britain “great” again, to take control of our borders, and to make our own laws.
We were told Brexit was “oven ready”. We were told countries were queuing up to make trade deals.
None of these promises has made good.
Obviously Brexit isn’t ready.
Obviously countries are not queuing up. Even our “special relationship ” with the USA is questionable.
And if we expect to trade with, for example, the US, then our food hygiene and animal welfare standards will be thrown out the window.
What happened to the “oven ready deal”?
Sitting in a slow cooker with the electricity turned off!?
Now, if I really,really try hard, I can blame the EU and the Remainers. Which isn’t easy but just give me a bit of time……I’ll come up with a “world-beating” explanation.
An excuse covered in Union Jacks, with a picture of the Queen and something about “taking back control”. That should work!!
PS. I’ll conjure up the “Dunkirk spirit” and “The Battle of Britain” and hope nobody notices the unfolding disaster.
Kcc are stockpiling 3 months of ppe for use in care homes etc. in case of delays due to worries about the supply chain after Brexit on January 1st. Kent access app which is supposed to ensure the smooth running of lorries in kent is not at the moment active. Worrying to say the least
No freight on French roads overnight, or at weekends wont help. However I have yet to see all sailings from Dover full to the brim with lorries, the main problem will be in Calais