M275 Portsmouth speed limits set to change as Hampshire's Brexit traffic plan set to end

SPEED restrictions on the M275 imposed to stop a possible traffic backlog tied to Portsmouth port bound-bound hauliers’ paperwork are set to be lifted.

Wednesday, 10th March 2021, 4:39 pm
Updated Wednesday, 10th March 2021, 4:44 pm

Southbound drivers were restricted to 40mph on January 1 when Britain exited the transition period following the country’s departure from the European Union.

Some £2.5m was provided by the Department for Transport on the plan involving triage points where lorry drivers’ paperwork could be checked after rules changed.

Officials feared 70 per cent would not have the right details and would cause a backlog strangling local roads.

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File photo of Border Force staff checking lorries in Portsmouth, England. Picture: Matt Cardy/Getty Images

Today the Hampshire Local Resilience Forum said it is confident hauliers can be ‘effectively processed at the port gates without creating a negative impact on the local road network’.

Around 4,000 lorries have been handled at the triage sites en route to Portsmouth International Port since January 1. Some 2,000 have been handled at port gates since February 18, with a now 95 per cent compliance rate.

A £360,000 contraflow was set up on the A31 around Alresford and Winchester where lorries were first required to stop, before then travelling to Tipner West and then the port.

The forum has today said the speed limits on the M275 will be lifted overnight on March 11. The A31 site will be further scaled back but Tipner will continue.

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Mike Sellers, port director, said: ‘This has been a significant effort, with a range of organisations working together, at times in really difficult circumstances.

‘There was huge uncertainty ahead of the EU exit, but haulier compliance was critical and we’re pleased to see those preparations continuing.

‘I'd like to give my thanks to everyone involved, as we know it hasn’t been the easiest of the situations for anyone, but it’s been a really impressive outcome.

‘We will continue to use the Tipner site for port-related activity, as we manage the impact of EU exit on operations.’

The operation created around 70 temporary jobs and was the focus of a £4m funding battle between government and the forum in 2019.

Neil Odin, the forum’s strategic chair and Hampshire chief fire officer, added: ‘We planned for the reasonable worst-case scenario when considering the impact of EU Exit on Hampshire’s strategic road network.

‘I’d like to thank the hauliers involved who have ensured that their drivers have adopted the new processes for paperwork quickly and efficiently.’

Portsmouth council leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson said the operation allowed freight to travel freely, and ‘helped to avoid the potential delays and disruption we could have seen’.

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