PROPOSALS to create a ‘Brexit lorry park’ with space for 198 HGVs at Birmingham Airport as part of an inland border facility have been put forward by HM Revenue & Customs.
Local residents were sent a letter dated October 16 by HMRC offering them a consultation period of just 14 days to respond to the plans.
HMRC wants to use the airport’s existing Car Park 6, close by the A45 due to its proximity to the strategic highway network.
The land is right by the M42 and M6, both key routes for HGVs travelling to and from ports across the country.
They anticipate it will be in use for two years and Car Park 6 has already been removed as an option from Birmingham Airport’s parking facilities.
Britain is due to leave the EU on January 1, 2021, less than three months away.
The news has sparked alarm among West Midlands Liberal Democrats who are urging local residents to respond to the HMRC consultation.
Their regional spokesperson Jenny Wilkinson said: “It is crucial that residents across Coventry, Birmingham and Solihull are made aware of these plans and are able to feed in their views.
“The Lib Dems still believe Brexit will damage our local economy, however these lorry parks could impact local traffic, congestion, noise and air pollution, which are also important.”
Solihull Borough Councillor Laura McCarthy (Elmdon) said: “These last-minute plans and rushed consultations demonstrate the complete lack of competence at the heart of this current government.
“We need to ensure local people have had a chance to have their say, many may not even know how close they live to these sites and could find out when queues of lorries stretch along our motorways.”
Chair of Coventry Liberal Democrats and local Parish Councillor James Morshead added: “Coventrians I speak to are already frustrated that decisions which impact on our environment, roads and congestion are being done to them and not made with them.
“The Lib Dems believe passionately that Brexit will harm our residents, jobs and businesses however whether you voted Remain or Leave, nobody voted for millions being spent on lorry parks across half the country.
“We hope as many people as possible provide their view via this consultation.”
The Lib Dems say traffic impacts on the local and strategic road network are still in the process of being assessed and environmental studies in relation to air quality, cultural heritage, biodiversity and noise pollution are yet to be produced.
The government is seeking to build a chain of five ‘Inland Border Facilities’ from Warrington to Kent, providing parking HGVs for the customs and transit checks required by hauliers from January 1, 2021.