Councils to get funding to prepare for ‘no deal’ Brexit
By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: 21 Feb 2019
Ministers have granted more than £270,000 to North East Lincolnshire Council to help it put no-deal preparations into place around the Humber’s south bank ports.
The announcement comes only two weeks after council leader Councillor Ray Oxby accused the Government of hindering the local authority’s ability to plan for no-deal with its “inept” handling of Brexit.
Immingham and Grimsby ports combine to make-up the largest port by tonnage in the UK and owner Associated British Ports is known to have put contingency measures into place at the port if the UK exits the European Union without a deal.
A no-deal situation could see extra custom checks for goods entering the two Humber ports, creating extra congestion on roads around northern Lincolnshire and beyond as trucks queue to pick up or drop-off their cargo.
North East Lincolnshire Council (NELC) will receive £272,724 – £136,362 for each port – from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to secure Immingham and Grimsby’s “resilience” and to mitigate against “potential impacts of greater traffic to surrounding communities”.
DFDS, the Danish ferry company with a base at Immingham, has already been contracted to run emergency ferries to keep supplies coming into the UK in the event of no-deal.
Leader of North East Lincolnshire Council, Councillor Ray Oxby, had previously complained about the Government delaying the region's no-deal planning (Image: Jon Corken/GrimsbyLive)
The money will be made available immediately in order to allow councillors and officers to put measures into place before April to keep traffic and trade moving in the event of a no-deal scenario.
NELC is one of 19 local authorities to receive cash from the £3.14 million pot, with Hull City Council and the East Riding of Yorkshire Council on the north bank of the Humber also being given the grant to prepare the Port of Hull and the docks at Goole respectively.
The communities department said the money had been allocation to shipping and air hubs based on a number of factors, including the “amount of EU goods each port area receives into the country and its wider importance to the UK’s global trade network”.
Others to receive the money outside of the Humber include the local authorities which are home to the Port of Dover, St Pancras train station and Heathrow airport.
Communities Secretary, James Brokenshire, said: “Local authorities have a critical role to play in making a success of Brexit.
Communities secretary James Brokenshire
“I am acutely aware a greater burden could be placed on the areas surrounding our ports. I have announced how we are allocating £3.14m to those areas considered to be under the greatest pressure from Brexit.
“I will continue to take the situation under review, working closely with local leaders to ensure they are prepared to respond to Brexit.”
NELC is set to receive a share of the £40 million Brexit preparation money which was made available by the Communities department and the Treasury, with those at Grimsby Town Hall set to see £210,000 awarded to them over the next two years.
Cllr Oxby, Labour leader of the council, had previously criticised the lack of direction from ministers on how to prepare for traffic jams on A180 and other Brexit-related issues, such as delivery delays for businesses in the borough.
Immingham Docks where DFDs has been put on standby in case of a no-deal Brexit (Image: Rick Byrne/thanks to POM flying club)
He had said: “It is down to Government to sort their act out. It's up to them to make a decision and until then business and ourselves cannot plan around it.
“We're doing our best working with our colleagues in the Humber, such as fire, police and other blue light authorities in the Humber Resilience Forum.
“But until the Government get their act together to give a clear direction as to what's going to happen and the implications, we can't plan around it in too much detail.”
The Humber Local Resilience Forum is made up of businesses and emergency services from across the region, including KCOM, Clugston, local authorities and NHS bodies.
The forum is drawing up contingency plans for the ports of Immingham, Hull, Grimsby and Goole in the event of a no-deal exit.
A spokesman for the Communities department said a new body, the EU Exit Local Government Delivery Board, had been set-up to deal with council concerns.
Chaired by the Communities Secretary, it has been set-up so council leaders can talk with ministers about domestic Brexit preparations. The board has met four times and is due to keep meeting on a monthly basis.