The safety of local communities and residents impacted by likely changes at Holyhead Port is central to contingency plans aimed at minimising traffic disruption as the end of the EU Transition period approaches.
Anglesey County Councillors were updated about Welsh Government preparations yesterday afternoon (Tuesday, December 22), including border issues by HMRC, road safety by North Wales Police, and heard more about plans to protect communities along the A5 and A5025 roads as well as the town of Holyhead.
Holyhead is the key entry and exit point for goods transport between the UK and Ireland and its status as the second busiest roll-on roll-off ferry port in the UK means it provides a vital link in the supply chain for businesses across Wales, the UK and Ireland. The importance of Holyhead port cannot be underestimated.
Welsh Government is responsible for managing the trunk road network and is planning for the potential impact of delays for hauliers travelling to Ireland, when the EU applies new border controls to UK traffic on 1 January 2021.The trunk road and local traffic come together at the Port’s entrance (“Black Bridge”) with congestion and delays already a common occurrence.
Ferry operators will require freight customers bound for Ireland to link customs information to their booking and if they arrive without having done so they won’t be able to enter the port. This new HMRC digital system should now be live.
The briefing addressed measures being taken to safeguard local communities and residents; with Welsh Government to introduce speeding enforcement and parking prevention measures. Extra signage will also being going up to deter heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) from venturing off the A55 expressway.
Highways portfolio holder, Cllr Bob Parry, welcomed the second virtual members’ briefing in recent weeks.
He said, “It’s vital that we, as elected representatives, are informed and I’m grateful to colleagues from Welsh Government for keeping us updated and giving us with information needed to allay concerns raised by our constituents. We were particularly pleased to hear more about plans to protect communities off the A55 expressway given fears that some HGVs and other traffic for Holyhead could take the A5 county road through Caergeiliog and Valley to try to avoid delays.”
“We’ll be working with Welsh Government, Traffic Wales and North Wales Police to ensure that this does not happen. The safety of local communities and residents remains central to these contingency plans.”
“The situation is not ideal, but we must continue to collaborate and be vigilant. I urge residents to take extra care, to drive safely and to follow road signage over coming weeks.”
The reasonable worst case scenario published by the UK Government highlights that 40 to 70% of HGVs arriving at ports after the end of the Transition Period could be turned away as they do not have the right documentation. The peak is expected around mid-January. Delays could also result due to new border checks in Dublin, which could delay sailings causing a backlog of HGVs in Holyhead.
As part of Welsh Government’s plans to minimise disruption the following measures are being introduced:
- a temporary contraflow is to be put in place between Junction 2 to 4 of the A55 eastbound with the westbound carriageway reserved for the filtering and possible stacking of HGVs turned away from the port. This will be in place on 28 December ready to be used from 1 January
- all vehicles turned away from the port with incorrect paperwork will be redirected back to the contraflow and then to join the westbound carriageway at Junction 4. Vehicles with the correct documentation will be able to travel straight to the port and check in as normal
- work has begun on Plot 9 Parc Cybi to allow it to be used as a stacking site from mid-January
- Welsh Government is currently also negotiating to use the Roadking site near the port
- signage is now in place on the A55 expressway to alert motorists of possible delays from January 1
Minister for Transport and North Wales Ken Skates said, “We have put contingency plans in place to protect the port, community of Holyhead and the wider area. Our aim is to minimise any disruption as much as possible. We will continue to work closely with all partners across North Wales, including Anglesey Council as we implement these plans.”
Isle of Anglesey County Council Leader, Councillor Llinos Medi, added, "We will continue to support Welsh Government, and other key partners, to minimise any potential disruption to Holyhead and other communities across Anglesey, as the transition period ends on December 31st. In doing so, we also want to help protect Holyhead Port’s position as one of the main international gateways.”
“With EU Exit almost upon us, our priority remains providing safe and efficient trade and traffic movement through the Port of Holyhead, whilst protecting our local residents and communities.”