Sunderland must pay for post-Brexit Nissan lorry park out of £200,000 EU withdrawal grant, says Minister

Nissan Sunderland
Nissan Sunderland
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Council chiefs in Sunderland cannot expect any extra cash towards creating an emergency post-Brexit lorry park, a Government Minister has said.

Councils around the country have been among the many public sector organisations preparing for potential impacts of Brexit, including if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

All the Tyne and Wear local authorities are due to get £210,000, spread over two payments, from a fund worth about £40million, to help prepare for Brexit.

As part of preparations, Sunderland City Council is planning a six-month lease on land at Deptford Terrace so that deliveries to the Japanese car maker could be held at the site if Brexit fallout leads to delays at ports and affects its supply chain.

According to an email from the city council’s Chief Officers Group, there is already a ‘problem’ with Nissan-bound lorries parking in and around Washington while they wait for their delivery slot at the plant.

The message said: “Were there to be delays at ports nationally as a result of No Deal EU Exit then supply lorries would set off earlier to meet their delivery deadlines and overnight parking could increase greatly.

“It has been estimated that there could be up to a two-fold increase in the number of lorries awaiting delivery slots at any one time.”

It went on to say the six-month lease could be cancelled if it is no longer required.

The issue was raised in Parliament this week when Lord Shipley, the former Newcastle City Council leader who now sites as a Liberal Democrat peer in the House of Lords.

He asked Baroness Sugg, a Parliamentary Under-Secretary in the Department for Transport, if funding would be made available for the project.

In a written question, he wrote: "To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will provide funding to Sunderland City Council to cover the cost to that authority of leasing land at Deptford Terrace to create a temporary lorry parking facility for vehicles delivering to Nissan's Sunderland plant that could be delayed due to disruption at ports in the event that the UK leaves the EU without a withdrawal agreement."

Baroness Sugg replied: "The Government has provided Sunderland City Council with £210,000, split between 2018/19 and 2019/20, to help the council prepare for EU Exit, which the council can decide how to spend according to local need."