As I announced on BBC South East’s Sunday Politics Show, I’ve helped Kent Police secure the first instalment of funding for the planning costs of Brexit, worth £850,000.
This funding will help fund the costs that are already being incurred for planning for the various contingencies that might be necessary post Brexit in March 2019.
I have built a strong network of supporters for the bid; Dover MP Charlie Elphicke co-ordinated a joint letter signed by a majority of Kent MPs in support of the bid, and the Dover Taskforce, which includes a variety of interested parties including the Port and Eurotunnel sent a letter of support too.
This funding covers the initial planning costs only, and for 2018/9. The vast bulk of the money – up to £19.5m – covers all scenarios post Brexit and the manpower required to support Kent County Council and Highways England to keep the county roads moving. This is currently being assessed by the Home Office.
This is really good news, and a step in the right direction. But the key here is that I am helping Kent Police get the funding in place before any problems start – not after the event.
This is not about Project Fear either. This is about two things – making sensible and responsible plans for our future, and reminding everyone that issues such as Operation Stack and major disruptions on our strategic road network are national, not local challenges.
Let’s hope that more funding, as well as the money Kent County Council has bid for, is awarded for 2019/20.