Yorkshire MPs have called for urgent talks with Transport Secretary Chris Grayling over growing fears the Government is woefully unprepared for the impact of a no-deal Brexit on trade through the Humber’s ports.
Key trading posts along the Humber estuary, including the ports at Hull, Immingham and Grimsby, manage 40 per cent more freight from the European Union than Dover, but up until a fortnight ago, the Department for Transport admitted it had not modelled potential traffic jams in the region if extra border checks become necessary.
With just two months to go before Britain is due to leave the European Union, serious concerns remain that heavy goods vehicles could “stack” up on roads if a deal with the EU cannot be agreed.
The concerns over the Government’s preparedness are detailed in an officially sensitive letter, dated January 17 and seen by The Yorkshire Post, sent to Mr Grayling by the Humber Local Resilience Forum.
Local resilience forums, which bring together local authority chief executives and emergency service bosses, have been tasked with planning for the impact of a no-deal Brexit.
The Humber forum’s letter to Mr Grayling is co-signed by nine local leaders and warns: “The risks to the Yorkshire and Humber economy, the risks to the national economy relating to fuel deliveries to the North of England by road from Immingham, and the impact on emergency and wider public services and communities in the event of traffic disruption occurring that is not planned for, are very significant.”
A Government spokesman said: “The Department for Transport is carrying out targeted contingency planning, focusing efforts on areas that may present challenges in the event of no deal. We expect the vast majority of our ports to experience no disruption.”
Ahead of the Commons showdown on Brexit, Defence Minister Tobias Ellwood broke ranks and insisted a no deal must be ruled out. Despite Theresa May refusing to take the prospect of a no deal off the table, Mr Ellwood wrote in the Sunday Times: “It is wrong for Government and business to invest any more time and money in a no-deal outcome which will make us poorer, weaker and smaller in the eyes of the world.”