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Kent County Council Brexit report: Government urged to fast track £20m to prepare for gridlock


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The government has been urged to fast track £20 million of funding to help Kent County Council prepare for possible gridlock on its roads after Brexit.

Cllr Paul Carter, the council’s Conservative leader, said the money was vital to help minimise disruption after next March.

It follows the publication of a council report which outlined the possible impact of a ‘no deal’ Brexit on key frontline services.

Kent County Council leader Paul Carter
Kent County Council leader Paul Carter

The council warned that there could be widespread disruption across a range of services.

Mr Carter said: “We need the right investment from the Department for Transport in the technology, number plate recognition and enforcement powers to stop lorries cutting and running down inappropriate highways and by-ways in Kent and directed to go where they’re told.

"With national government’s cooperation we can avoid the chaos that we had in 2015.

“In the meantime the Department for Transport must share their plans at a national level with us and fast track the money through to us to invest in the necessary technology, barriers, signage and vital preparation that we will need in Kent.”

“Twenty million pouinds is not a massive amount to the government in the scale of things. These contingency plans are not just about Brexit. They should be in place to prepare the county for any eventuality – a fire in the channel tunnel, strikes and delays.”

The leader of the Conservative-led Kent county council has urged MPs to think "long and hard" about voting against Theresa May’s Brexit deal.

"The Department for Transport must share their plans at a national level with us and fast track the money through to us to invest in the necessary technology, barriers, signage and vital preparation that we will need in Kent...” - Cllr Paul Carter

But a former Conservative cabinet member for roads said the report was “verging on the ridiculous.”

Cllr Bryan Sweetland tweeted: It’s right and proper that KCC should plan for every eventuality with regards to Brexit but this report is verging on the ridiculous.”

The concerns about services were flagged up in a 17-page report by KCC up-dating the challenges a “no deal” Brexit could bring to the county council. It warns: “An inability to travel around the county may have a direct impact on KCC’s delivery of statutory services.”

The areas of concern include:

  • Kent needing to cope with holding up to 10,000 HGVs on a routine basis;
  • Food supplies at risk as safety testing becomes more difficult;
  • Children missing important exams such as GCSEs and Sats because of traffic gridlock;
  • KCC staff possibly having to work from home for up to six months;
  • Carers unable to get to vulnerable adults because of traffic gridlock;
  • Schools seeing attendance levels drop;
  • Disruption to waste collection services leading to a build-up of rubbish;
  • Home to school transport for Special Education Needs (SEN) could be severely challenged;
  • Difficulties for the Coroners service transporting the deceased to post mortem or body storage facilities;
  • Pressure on trading standards as more checks could take a longer time;
  • An increase in the numbers of migrants arriving in Kent, including unaccompanied asylum-seeking children.

The report says KCC service standards “could be impacted and services may not be able to operate to the same levels as prior to Brexit.”

A DfT spokesperson said: "We do not want or expect a no deal scenario. It is however the duty of a responsible Government to continue to prepare for a range of potential outcomes including the unlikely event of no deal.

“It is perfectly sensible for Kent County Council to work with other members of the local resilience team and Government to ensure they are prepared in the unlikely event the UK leaves the EU without a deal.”

“Further details of Operation Brock are currently being finalised and will be detailed to Parliament in due course.”

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