Scots airfield converted to emergency lorry park
The Scottish government hopes to avoid scenes like this in Dover last week
An airfield near Stranraer will be converted into a lorry park in case of disruption resulting from the Brexit deal.
Britain’s new trading arrangements with the EU come into effect on Thursday night and Transport Scotland has announced Operation Overflow, a contingency plan in case of delays at Cairnryan ports.
The Scottish Government has signed a lease with Stair Estates, the owner of Castle Kennedy airfield in Stranraer so that, from 1 January, the airfield will be able to accommodate up to 240 goods vehicles, with welfare facilities, if port capacity is exceeded.
The aim is to manage queuing vehicles and ensure freight can flow freely between Scotland and Northern Ireland, without a detrimental impact on local communities.
Transport Secretary Michael Matheson said: “The Cairnryan crossings are important for Scottish exporters and the ports themselves, and are also of strategic importance to Northern Ireland so we are taking action to protect them.
“At this stage we do not expect a significant increase in traffic or delays at Cairnryan, but it is essential that we are prepared for every eventuality.
“I’m pleased to confirm that working with the Local Resilience Partnership, we have agreed a contingency plan in order to minimise disruption to the local community and promote road safety.”
Operation Overflow is a Contingency Plan for Dumfries and Galloway Local Resilience Partnership (LRP) and has been developed with Transport Scotland, Police Scotland, P&O, Stena and Scottish Fire & Rescue.
From 1 January there will be new requirements on goods moving between Great Britain and Northern Ireland. There will be new checks on departure which could result in vehicles being turned away if found to be non-compliant.
Information for hauliers is available here.
Scottish businesses are being urged to ensure they are aware of the latest Brexit advice ahead of the EU transition period ending at 11pm on Thursday.
The Prepare for Brexit website is being updated throughout the holiday period with the latest information on what steps businesses should take as Britain leaves the EU single market and customs union. It contains helpful checklists, links to webinars and detailed technical guidance.
Over the past month Scotland’s enterprise agencies have contacted more than 800 companies identified as being particularly vulnerable to Brexit to offer targeted advice and guidance.
Digital support for businesses is available on the Prepare for Brexit website.