Freight Industry: Delays Debate

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Department: Department for Transport

Freight Industry: Delays

Lord Davies of Gower Excerpts
Thursday 17th December 2020

(1 year, 8 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Baroness Vere of Norbiton Portrait Baroness Vere of Norbiton (Con)
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My Lords, as I said, the port infrastructure fund provided funding to 41 ports, and they will be able to put various things in place. Work is ongoing with the devolved Administrations for ports in Wales, and conversations are ongoing with the Northern Ireland Executive to make sure goods travelling across the Irish Sea can do so successfully.

Lord Davies of Gower Portrait Lord Davies of Gower (Con)
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On 1 January, the UK will have another frontier with the EU in the form of the sea border between Wales and the Republic of Ireland. The ports of Holyhead, Fishguard and Pembroke Dock handle more than half a million lorries and trailers crossing between Great Britain and Northern Ireland each year, and Holyhead is the second largest roll-on, roll-off port in the UK after Dover. A report in the last few days from the Commons’ Welsh Affairs Committee warned that the necessary systems and infra- structure may not be ready in time for full implementation of the new border checks. Can the Minister give an update on the capability of the checking facilities and assure those who operate in and out of these Welsh ports that the facilities are now oven-ready for 1 January and able to cope?

Baroness Vere of Norbiton Portrait Baroness Vere of Norbiton (Con)
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I reassure my noble friend that we are working closely with the Welsh Government on a cross-government basis to make sure all ports are as ready as they can be. I can also reassure him that from 1 January 2021, the UK will have autonomy to introduce its own approach to goods imported to GB from the EU. But, recognising the impact of coronavirus on businesses’ ability to prepare, the checks will be introduced in three phases up to 1 July. So, we have the ability to be flexible and pragmatic, and that is the approach we will take.