Grimsby

Brexit clarity needed before inspection post planning

“Clarity is needed” on a Brexit deal before progress can be made on a new border inspection post for Grimsby and Immingham ports.

Councillors on North East Lincolnshire Council had expressed frustration at a lack of progress from the authority on identifying a new site for such a facility.

Finding a new site for an inspection post in the borough has been on the council’s agenda for a number of years but the authority has now said that it needs clarity over a Brexit deal before it can move on with plans.

A border inspection post carries out checks on animal products arriving from non-EU countries and the current Grimsby facility is designed in line with European Union law.

But Councillor John Fenty said that the post is ‘not fit for purpose’ and a new site is required, especially following Britain’s decision to leave the European Union two years ago.

He accused the council of “procrastinating” on a new facility and tabled a motion at a full council meeting asking for priority to be given to the post.

“It is considerably less than ideal,” he said.

“This extended procrastination has gone on too many years and the council is effectively kicking the can down the road.”

He added that a new facility is needed to “take advantage” of future trade after Brexit.

Nearly 70% of voters in Grimsby backed leave in the EU referendum on June 23, 2016.

Leader of North East Lincolnshire Council, Councillor Ray Oxby.

But, council leader, Councillor Ray Oxby, said that the council is taking a cautious approach along with Associated British Ports (ABP), who own the land, until a Brexit deal is on the table.

He said: “They need to understand if a Brexit deal, if there is one, will have any adverse impact on port throughput and thus affect the financial viability of a border inspection post.

“That is commercial sense.”

He added that the council wants to see a new inspection post for the area, but would only get one by working with ABP in the right way.

Councillor Oxby proposed an amendment motion that the council has given priority to a new inspection post and that work continues to deliver the facility.

Councillor Fenty accepted the amendment and the motion was passed.

A spokesperson for North East Lincolnshire Council said: “We have been working very closely with ABP on a number of projects, including the border inspection post.

“These arrangements remain fit for purpose and suit the current capacity at the port.

“However, we recognise that a modern,  fit for purpose, border inspection post could be of tremendous benefit and will work with ABP in the coming months as the direction of government policy over Brexit becomes clearer.’’