Posted: 09.09.20 at 17:12 by Daniel Mumby - Local Democracy Reporter
Lorry parks could be constructed across Somerset as the Brexit transition period ends – and residents won’t get a say on the matter.
The government recently announced a change in the law, allowing “temporary” lorry parks to be constructed in 29 council areas in England – including Somerset.
The new law will allow these facilities to be constructed and implemented without going through the normal planning process – meaning local residents won’t get a chance to object against the designs, scale or locations.
Somerset County Council said it not yet been consulted by the government about possible locations for these lorry parks.
Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick MP laid out the changes on Thursday (September 3), stating the parks would be created through “special development orders” which would not require the approval of county or district councillors.
The parks are designed to prevent major disruption to food and other vital supplies when the transition period officially ends on December 31.
The exact site of any development or how many vehicles it may have to cater for has not been announced – but any such facilities in Somerset would need to be in place by the end of the year.
Mr Jenrick said the measures were needed now because the coronavirus pandemic had delayed much-needed facilities at ports and airports being delivered on time.
He said: “From January 1, 2021 the UK will introduce new controls that apply to all goods imported from the EU.
“This will require building new border facilities for carrying out required checks. While port operators would normally provide the border facilities, there is limited space for the new facilities at some ports.
“Additionally, the government is aware that the impact of the coronavirus may have affected the ability of port operators and businesses to provide the necessary infrastructure by the end of the year.
“Where there is limited space at ports for new infrastructure, we will provide new inland sites where checks and other border processes will take place.”
Somerset County Council said that no specific locations within the county had been identified for such a lorry park at present.
A spokesman said: “These plans are being developed centrally and we have not yet been consulted about possible locations.”
The government has indicated that lorry parks could also be delivered in Devon, Dorset and the metropolitan area of Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole.