UK’s second busiest port faces Brexit chaos as lorry park plans were thrown out

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Holyhead Port sees more than 400,000 freight lorries crossing the Irish Sea every year while two million people are carried by ships between the UK and Ireland every year. Plans for the lorry park were put forward at an industrial site in the port town by the Anglesey Agricultural Society who lease the land from the local council for provision for the annual Anglesey Show after discussions with HMRC.

The plans would allow up to 100 HGVs to be held amid fears there isn’t space at the port to perform the additional customs checks that will be required on arrivals from the Republic of Ireland.

Under the plans, the Society asked for the terms of their lease to be changed to allow the lorry park to operate.

A council report seen by this website added: “The site had been identified by North and Mid Wales Trunk Road Agency (NMWTRA) and the Welsh Government as a suitable location for the short term emergency processing of HGVs for the checking/processing of import and export paperwork without causing disruption to the road network and port facilities in Holyhead in the context of the preparation for a no-deal Brexit.”

It noted that correspondence was received by the Council from HMRC who expressed an interest in the land for five years before they approached the Agricultural Society.

The report added: “It has since come to the attention of the Council that discussions have reached an advanced stage between HMRC, and The Society, for The Society to sub-let their interest in the Mona site to HMRC.”

From January 1 2021, customs declarations would be required for hauliers for both imports and exports to and from the EU.

Duties would also be payable on imports under a new UK Global Tariff where people who are importing goods would need to declare the customs value of the goods and where they are from.

However, Whitehall has made clear it would be possible to defer customs declarations by up to six months on standard goods meaning payments can be deferred until such a time that the declarations are made.

Goods being imported from the EU would also be subject to VAT and importers would need to account for this.

Cllr Bob Parry, portfolio holder for highways at Anglesey Council told the Local Democracy Reporting Service it could mean traffic problems for local communities.

He added: “The application breaks the terms of the lease quite clearly, but what worries me is the impact on the village of Gwalchmai and the crossroads at Rhostrehwfa who would be faced with hundreds of lorries every day as they come off and back onto the A55.

“Many homes in Gwalchmai are forced to park their cars on the A5 and children cross the road to go to school, while the junction at Rhostrehwfa is already dangerous.

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“I can’t understand why permission is being sought by the Agricultural Society to be honest, as it was the problem parking and the queues leading back to Gaerwen, almost, which led to the park-and-ride being established.”

Cllr Carwyn Jones, Plaid Cymru member on the council said the UK government were “running around like headless chickens” as they “scramble” to hit the end of the transition period.

He added: “They can’t sit in London and just look at Google maps, and we can’t be strong-armed into accepting a site that isn’t appropriate.”

Concluding the decision, councillors concluded that the proposal was inappropriate with Council transport lead Bob Parry stressing the application “breaks the terms of the lease quite clearly.”

Anglesey Council stressed more other more appropriate sites had been found.

An HMRC spokesperson said: “HMRC is working closely across government, with the Welsh Government and with ports to understand requirements and implement infrastructure changes in line with the support announced by the government.

“Alongside engaging with ports to understand what infrastructure may be required, we are reviewing a number of potential sites which are close to ports, and near strategic road networks, including options to support Holyhead.”

Additional reporting by Gareth Wyn-Williams

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