Huge Brexit lorry parks to be built in Suffolk and Essex
- Credit: Archant
The government is set to build huge new lorry parks in Suffolk and Essex to cope with delays at ports when new customs rules come in when the Brexit transition period ends at the beginning of next year.
Sites have not yet been identified, but they are likely to be beside major roads like the A14, A12 or A120 to offer easy access to the ports of Felixstowe and Harwich.
And they will not need planning permission from local authorities because Local Government Secretary Robert Jenrick has applied for a statutory instrument that will allow his officials to go ahead and create the parks without having to go through the planning process.
Officials from Suffolk County Council have not heard anything yet from Whitehall about the plans – but there are only a limited number of sites that could be under consideration.
Among these could be the old A45 at Levington which has been used for Operation Stack in the past when high winds have closed the Port of Felixstowe and the Orwell Bridge.
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The parks would have to be built near junctions on the major roads – but there is no indication on the government’s statutory instrument of how long the parks are likely to be open or how many vehicles they may need to take.
In Kent, on the approaches to Dover, there are plans to close one carriageway of the M20 to use as a huge lorry park if that is necessary as cross-channel trade slows to a trickle with extra customs checks in both Britain and France.
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The government has warned 29 local authorities across the country of the potential need to host new lorry parks.
The transition period, during which the UK has continued to be part of the European Open Market, ends this year – from January 1 new arrangements come in for trade with Europe, either negotiated deals with the EU or business with other countries will have to be conducted under World Trade Organisation rules if no deal has been signed.
This could force countries on both sides of the Channel and North Sea to introduce new customs and security checks which could seriously delay the passage of vehicles across the sea – forcing lorries to wait hours in parks before arriving at the port to have all their documents checked by border officials.