The Scottish Government has signed a lease to use Castle Kennedy airfield near Stranraer as a Brexit Lorry Park from January 1st 2021.
According to Transport Scotland, as many as 240 lorries can be parked at the airfield in the event that the port of Cairnryan goes over capacity.
Although Cairnryan predominantly serves freight moving from Scotland to Northern Ireland, which is technically a domestic route within the UK, Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal means customs checks are required for goods moving between Northern Ireland and the British mainland.
Just like at other ports in the UK, the extra checks are expected to slow down procedures at the port and lead to congestion.
In order to deal with that congestion, the Scottish Government has developed a contingency plan labelled „Operation Overflow”, which has been developed with Transport Scotland, Police Scotland, P&O, Stena and Scottish Fire & Rescue.
Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity, Michael Matheson, said that he did not expect a „significant increase in traffic or delays” at Cairnryan, but wanted to be ready for „every eventuality.”
“Scotland did not vote for EU exit and we regret having to prepare for it – particularly in the midst of a global pandemic. However the Cairnryan crossings are important for Scottish exporters and the ports themselves, and are also of strategic importance to Northern Ireland so we are taking action to protect them. At this stage we do not expect a significant increase in traffic or delays at Cairnryan, but it is essential that we are prepared for every eventuality. I’m pleased to confirm that working with the Local Resilience Partnership, we have agreed a contingency plan in order to minimise disruption to the local community and promote road safety.”
Photo credit: Anne Burgess / Geograph UK