Dublin Airport land ‘allocated for spillover freight traffic’ after Brexit

Land at Dublin Airport has been allocated to cater for the potential spillover of freight traffic in the event of a no-deal Brexit, it has been claimed.

Lord Malcolm Bruce, the British Liberal Democrat, said there is potential for “serious congestion” in Dublin as a result of stacking of freight vehicles if a Brexit deal is not reached.

Addressing the 58th plenary of the British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly (BIPA) in Co Wicklow, Lord Bruce said checks on freight transport crossing ports in Ireland and the UK will be a “major issue” for cost and time.

He made the comments as Welsh Conservative Darren Millar presented a BIPA committee report into the European security co-operation after Brexit.

Members from the Committee on European Affairs heard evidence from experts on European and UK-Irish security co-operation in Dublin and Belfast.

They also met officials from Dublin Port Company and Irish Ferries as well as the port services manager at Holyhead.

The British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly
The British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly (Niall Carson/PA)

Committee member Lord Bruce told the Assembly: “In order to manage the potential stacking of vehicles, Dublin port have actually taken land at the airport where they are going to park vehicles.

“Some of these vehicles will be parked for two or three days before the port can actually handle them and then there is the potential that it can lead to pretty serious congestion in the city of Dublin.

“It’s clearly a big problem.

“A port area is very constrained and they’ve had to be pretty creative and imaginative to maximise the use of all the land they have got.

“In the event of a no-deal Brexit, as I understand it, 100% of food products have to be inspected. When you need a couple of minutes for each vehicle and then you add the number of vehicles, you quickly realise this is a major issue in cost, time and delay.”

Brexit
Shipping containers at Dublin Port (PA)

Mr Millar said Dublin port authorities have invested heavily in preparations for Brexit.

“The situation in Holyhead is different, it has a lot more relaxed approach about the impact of Brexit on the port,” he added.

“It did not feel there was any sense of emergency in Holyhead, it had the attitude that we can take everything in our stride.”

He also told the committee that people and companies are trying to find alternative routes into continental Europe from Ireland.

“There has been increasing requests for movements of goods and people between the Dublin and Cherbourg (France) link and therefore new vessels are being put on to that link and they expect that will continue to grow and develop,” he added.

“Our biggest concern is that there was a huge effort and huge expense going into all of these preparations and they may not be required at the end of the day.

“There was a different approach at Holyhead than the approach being taken in Dublin.

“We were told that the UK Government informed Holyhead port that it was not planning to impose any additional checks on any of the vehicles that were coming from Ireland and they were able to take a more flexible approach because of the UK Government’s plan to try to minimise disruption post-Brexit.

“They expected that there might be some minimal checks that would have around 30 seconds processing times.”

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