Brexit: Ministers urged to ‘wake up’ to potential Harwich port problems

A view from Harwich port. Councillors for the Essex town have warned of problems there following Bre

A view from Harwich port. Councillors for the Essex town have warned of problems there following Brexit. Picture: ARCHANT LIBRARY

The government needs to start “waking up” to potential problems at Harwich in the face of an increase in traffic, a councillor representing the town has said.

As the country looks toward the issues facing Dover and Kent, councillor Ivan Henderson says much more needs to be done to address problems facing the route between Essex and the Netherlands.

The issues were none more highlighted Wednesday, September 23, when villages became jammed with traffic and lorries heading to Harwich after the A120 was closed at 7am following a multi-vehicle crash.

Mr Henderson said that planning for a Brexit lorry park was crucial to ensure the smooth running of the area.

He complained that had not been forthcoming and nor has clear guidance for extra infrastructure being planned jointly between Tendring District Council and East Suffolk Council for port health functions – at both Harwich and Felixstowe.

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As part of the EU exit transition arrangements and proposed EU border arrangements from January 2021, a joint bid has been submitted between East Suffolk Council and Tendring District Council for £1.8million from the Port Health Authority Transition Fund.

This funding will be used to support the transition arrangements including upscaling the port health functions at both Harwich and Felixstowe.

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But Mr Henderson says more details are needed from the government.

He said: “They are not sure how many people they will need and they are not sure what facilities they are going to have to have.

“If there is a query about fresh meat and animal products they sometimes have to take some out and check.

“They are not ready because they are not telling the ports what facilities they are going to need.”

He said the accident on the A120 on Wednesday highlighted what can happen on routes to one of the UK ‘s major ferry ports.

“They need to start waking up and they need to start talking to hauliers and authorities and port owners about what their requirements are,” he said.

A Cabinet Office spokesman said: “Engagement is underway with ports and we are speaking to local authorities about potential inland sites. Final decisions on inland sites will be set out in due course.”

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