Ken Skates, Minister for Economy and Transport
Despite our repeated calls on the UK Government to rule out leaving the European Union without a deal, that prospect is now just 3 days away. Members should therefore be aware of the Welsh Government’s contingency plan for disruption at Holyhead in the event of a No Deal Brexit. In such circumstances goods from the United Kingdom will be treated as from a “third country” as they enter the EU and will be subjected to additional checks in Ireland, potentially causing delays to ferries and a backlog in Holyhead.
Whilst fully mitigating the impacts of a No Deal Brexit is impossible, we have prioritised working with partners in North Wales to minimise disruption at Holyhead. At the forefront of our minds throughout this process has also been the need to keep the Holyhead - Dublin ferry route as viable and attractive to freight hauliers as is possible, whilst ensuring the travelling public should face minimal additional disruption.
Whilst Holyhead Port can already accommodate 660 Heavy Goods Vehicles these plans, approved with partners across North Wales, will ensure that the impact on the town and surrounding area is minimal, should significant disruption occur.
HGVs will be directed to the existing Roadking services at Parc Cybi, close to the port’s entrance. 175 HGVs can be accommodated on this site, which also includes welfare facilities for drivers. Welsh Government has arranged for parking to be free of charge for Dublin-bound freight traffics at the site under these arrangements, and traffic management will be in place to direct HGVs seamlessly to the site. Additional Traffic Officers will be on hand to assist 24/7.
Road space around Parc Cybi can also be used if necessary with space for a further 30 stacked HGVs. In the unlikely event of all these spaces not being sufficient a further contingency plan has been developed using the westbound carriageway of the A55 at Holyhead (Jct 2 -3) to stack HGVs.
It is highly unlikely that this third option of the A55 at Holyhead will need to be used, but it is important we have this contingency to hand should we face very severe delays at the port. This is the quietest section of the A55 and even if this option is used the impact on the travelling public is expected to be minimal.
Under a No Deal exit, the Roadking and Parc Cybi options will be operational from the 12th April while the A55 option can be operational from the 15th April onwards in the unlikely event that it becomes necessary.
Further information is available in the Frequently Asked Questions document now available on the Preparing Wales website.
This statement is being issued during recess in order to keep members informed. Should members wish me to make a further statement or to answer questions on this when the Assembly returns I would be happy to do so.