Changes may be needed at Portsmouth’s port after Brexit

Portsmouth International Port
Portsmouth International Port
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BIGGER car parks may have to be built at Portsmouth’s port to make sure it is not affected by extra security checks after Brexit.

Portsmouth City Council owns both the shipping port and the ferry port, and leader Donna Jones said this morning that the authority is working with the government’s Department for Exiting the EU to make sure that ferry ports are not affected by additional checks after the UK leaves the European Union and freedom of movement ends.

Cllr Jones told BBC Breakfast that extra checks could mean more space being needed at the port in order to avoid delays.

‘This is the largest-owned municipal port in the country and the second-busiest cross channel port in the country,’ she said.

‘For us it’s really around freight, I’m not so concerned about the safety of passengers, as I think for getting people in and out of the country UK Border Force have that sorted, but freight and how customs want us to check lorries coming into the UK from the European Union. Could it be a check of one in four, or one in three?

‘For us as a ferry port, we might need to build larger container car parks while that is checked.

‘It’s something we’re working very closely with the Department for Exiting the EU on right now to make sure ports that are roll-on roll-off are adequately provided for.’

Cllr Jones, who campaigned for Brexit, admitted that security checks could make trade harder.

She said: ‘If a big supermarket is importing goods in, via shipping movements, they want that produce in as quickly as they possibly can. We have a huge amount of fish that comes into the UK. It needs to be eaten very quickly. Those are the kind of considerations we’re working on.

‘But, I also represent key cities across the country as the Brexit lead for them and we are also making sure key cities are really working with the government, tying into the industrial strategy, to make sure the economy grows as quickly and as strongly as it possibly can.’

The head of YouGov’s political and social research Joe Twyman was also on the programme and said his pollster organisation had found that border security was important among the public.

He said: ‘Border security comes after trade talks if you’re looking to remain, but if you want to leave, it’s about sovereignty and immigration, then security. It’s second-order.’