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Liberal Democrats on Kent County Council

No deal Brexit could see Kent turned into lorry park under Tory plans

July 13, 2018 4:08 PM

Vast swathes of the Kent countryside would be turned into lorry parks under a no deal Brexit, according to a plan presented to Kent County Council.

At a full council meeting on Thursday, a paper was put before councillors by Conservative Leader Paul Carter, which suggested concreting over large areas of the countryside in an effort to avoid gridlock if customs checks were imposed at ports.

Checking every lorry passing through Dover would slow freight traffic to a crawl and lead to permanent Operation Stack, necessitating acres of extra lorry parking.

Other impacts of a disastrous no deal Brexit were discussed, including shortages of skilled workers and the introduction of tariffs that could see Kent firms going bust.

The Liberal Democrats, the official opposition on Kent County Council, tabled an amendment calling for the council to tell the government that a no deal Brexit must be avoided at all costs.

The party also called for a People's Vote, so the public can decide whether to accept a proposed Brexit deal. The Conservative leadership blocked any debate and instructed councillors to vote against the Lib Dem proposals.

Rob at CHLiberal Democrat Leader Rob Bird told the council: "A bad Brexit deal for Britain will be a disastrous deal for Kent. No-one wants our roads turned into lorry parks. That is what will happen if customs checks start up, which is a real risk.

"The government talks about using technology to fix it, but that does not exist yet and who knows if it ever will.

"Today the opposition at Kent County Council fought for the people of Kent's interests to be put first. It is appalling that Conservatives prioritised papering over their party divisions. Kent deserves better than this."

Speaking at the meeting, Economic Development Spokesman Antony Hook told the council: Antony Hook in Kent County Councl Chamber"No deal Brexit means loss of tariff-free access to the EU for Kent firms.

"Tariffs are more than 30% on agricultural products and 19% on beverages, and that would put Kent firms out of business.

"A no-deal Brexit would also mean UK products will no longer be licenced or accredited for sale in the EU, which would crush Kent's pharmaceutical and chemical firms.

"We have to tell the government that Kent cannot have a no deal Brexit."

Explaining why a People's Vote is important, Cllr Hook said: "If it's a good deal, people will endorse it and that will strengthen it, but If it's a bad deal they will be angry if not allowed to reject it.

"People may ask where is the £350m per week for the NHS? Why haven't our wages improved? Why did the threat of Turkey joining turn out to be false?

"They may consider that we have, in fact, a better economy and a safer place in the world as part of a strong, united Europe. When we all find out what the exit deal actually is, we owe people the chance of a fully informed say for the first time."

To read the KCC report in full click here.