With the new extended brexit deadline in place, MPs have released figures on the costs so far to the UK. Transport costs have been especially high, with the ministry announcing that, by the end of this year, it will have cost at least £109 million, or €122 million.
This mostly consists of the money that’s been spent on no-deal preparations, such as how to deal with traffic delays in Dover if border checks are reintroduced. It’s estimated that no-deal preparations will make up around £74 million of the total money spent.
In a letter to the House of Lords’ EU Committee, the Minister of State for Transport, Michael Ellis, said the department “may allocate additional resources for no-deal contingencies”.
It goes on to say: “As the UK prepares to leave the EU, the department will continue to engage actively with its broad range of stakeholders to ensure that the transport sector is poised to handle every eventuality”.
It also confirms that two ferry contracts were terminated in April, costing the department £51.2 million. Additionally, additional services from other ports, including Ramsgate, could be introduced to avoid chaos in Dover, should a no-deal scenario arise.
Ramsgate, however, was dismissed as a viable alternative to Dover as it wouldn’t be large enough to deal with the number of large vessels needed to transport heavy vehicles and freight like Dover.
Among other costs, £33 million was paid to Eurotunnel after it successfully sued the government over the way contracts were given, and £33.4 million was paid to Kent County Council to pay for “Operation Brock” – a scheme that was set up to ease congestion in the region.
This money was paid to Highways England and used to add a feeder road to the motorway, change the junction system, and add an additional lane, to reduce the time of delays.
Although many of these plans have now been put on hold, no doubt, later in the year there will be further planning if there’s a chance the UK might leave in October without a deal in place.
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