South Scotland MSP and Scottish Labour’s Transport Spokesperson Colin Smyth has hit out at the Scottish and UK Governments after reports that plans to convert the port of Stranraer into a lorry park to cope with border delays after a no-deal Brexit are not ready, due to a disagreement between the UK and Scottish Governments.
The Scottish Government said a planned expansion of the disused port to hold up to 300 HGVs had not gone ahead after the UK Government refused to fund it.
Constitution Secretary Michael Russell has said he is still trying to find extra space in the event that freight traffic bound for Northern Ireland had to be “stacked” due to border delays.
Colin Smyth said: “The news that the UK and Scottish Governments have been unable to agree on plans for a lorry park at Stranraer, this late in the Brexit negotiations, is deeply disappointing and it will be local people who suffer as a result.
“Whatever the outcome of negotiations, there will be a requirement for additional checks on freight crossing the Irish Sea, not just on the Northern Ireland side but in every likelihood in Scotland. Everyone knows that the space at both ferry ports in Cairnryan is tight and even the slightest daily would mean lorries being parked up.
“Whenever the A77 or A75 are blocked due to an accident or bad weather, Operation Stack kicks in and lorries are parked up along the A751. There is no way that solution can cope with hundreds of lorries parked on a regular basis. Plans for what happens to delayed lorries must be finalised without delay.
“The very fact that the Scottish Government was having to look for space to stack delayed lorries in the first place highlights just one of the chaotic likely outcomes of brexit.
“It’s clear that whatever the outcome will cause major hold ups between Cairnryan and Northern Ireland and that will be bad news for business and the region’s economy.
“What is so frightening is the fact the UK Government seems determined to exit the EU without a deal, no matter how damaging that will be for jobs.”