A 10,000 lorry park needed on top of White Cliffs of Dover in No Deal Brexit

They’ll be concrete over the white cliffs of Dover….

put in the planning application now, after all David Davis has budgeted for it, and no deal is better than bad deal is government policy.  Grant without dealy.   To hell with the AONB

Business Insider

LONDON – Crashing out of the European Union with no deal would unleash “disorganisation and chaos” on the Port of Dover, deputy chief executive of Britain’s Freight Transport Association has said.

Speaking to the Financial Times, James Hookham warned that a no-deal Brexit would leave the Dover border crossing in a state of disarray, as significantly increased customs checks would create queues of lorries reaching over 5o miles.

“If you add an average of two minutes to customs processing, you get a 17-mile queue [from Dover] almost back to Ashford,” Hookham explained to the FT. “Another four minutes takes the queue back to Maidstone, six minutes back to the M25, eight minutes and you are up to the Dartford crossing and Essex.”

Brexit Secretary David Davis and Trade Secretary Liam Fox have both this week refused to rule out Britain walking away from Brexit talks without a deal in March 2019, despite the concerns of businesses and fellow MPs.

Davis told MPs that it was “sensible” to prepare for the possibility that there is no deal at the end of Brexit negotiations, while Fox told the BBC that no-deal would “not be the Armageddon that some people project.”

A no-deal Brexit would have a number of significant implications for Britain, not least dropping out of the EU’s customs union without a replacement UK-EU customs arrangement ready to be implemented.

“Dover is set up for what you might call ‘zero friction’ and the introduction of EU customs checks could prove a real headache,” the Institute for Government’s Joe Owen told the FT.

The UK Border Force is faced with a “real headache” as the number of non-EU lorries it must check coming into Britain through Dover would rise massively if British negotiators are unable to agree on a customs arrangement.

The number of lorries needing customs checks could rise from 500 a day to 10,000, Dover worker Tim Dixon told the FT claims. “I don’t know how we — or Dover itself — could cope with an increase on that scale,”

“Catastrophic is the word I would use,” Dixon said when asked what a no-deal Brexit would mean for Dover border checks. “It puts the shivers up you. It would devastate the local community.”

Home Secretary Amber Rudd this week described a no-deal Brexit as “unthinkable” and Dover’s MP, Charlie Elphicke, has insisted that “with proper planning we cannot only be ready on day one.”

However, various businesses and trade experts are concerned that the two-year time limit on a transitional period outlined in May’s Florence speech will not provide enough time for new customs arrangements to be prepared.

“A transition period should be at least three years,” Anastassia Beliakova, head of trade policy at the British Chambers of Commerce, told the FT.

“This is important not just for businesses to prepare, but also for new IT systems to be put in place, for [HM Revenue & Customs] to hire and train new staff, for new infrastructure to be built.”

This was echoed by UK Trade Facilitation Expert Panel chair Mark Corby, who added: “It will be very tight indeed to get in place the customs systems we need by March 2021, even on the most benign scenario.

“You need three to five years, taking the transition up to 2025, to put in place the untried, streamlined systems ultimately envisaged.”

Rethinking Midlands Strategic Planning

You have heard a lot and will hear a lot concerning strategic planning for Greater Manchester, London and the Cambridge-MK-Oxford, corridor on this blog, but lets not neglect the Midlands.

In simple terms the problem.

Birmingham, the Black Country and Coventry cannot meet their needs within their boundaries.

They are seeking other nearby authorities to take this overspill.

Some areas are resisting bitterly.

Thereis of course not yet any agreed mechanism to agree the sharing of this overspill, and the institutional arrangements for LEPs, joint planning, MoUs etc. in the region are so complex and byzantine they arnt even worth explaining.  It is a good example of institutional dysfunction.

In the past age of strategic planning the focus was to study major towns spread around the region as the focus for overspill as they were the ‘most sustainable’,.  You might call this the ‘constellation’ approach. some weight in this but mispecifies the main problem.  In terms of overspill from the Black Country and Brum. say, how can development 3 miles from the edge of Stafford and from its railway station but more sustainable then say a new garden village next to Penkridge station or net to Bromsgrove Station?  In the long term we know that commuter focussed developments become much more self contained over time (take Reddich for example), but this is an argument for allocating housing in large amounts in defined locations, with their own high quality public transport systems, and large amount of employment alongside.  Developments of a scale such as Telford, Reddich or Daventry (an expansion town to a very small market town not a new town) for example.

In seems to me the Midlands needs to make the seem kind of paradigm shift we are seeing elsewhere in the country from constellation planning to corridor planning , where we plan in an integrated way innovation cluster as nodes along high frequency high capacity public transport corridors.

Seen in this way – where are the corridiors?

Of course around Birmingham they span the clockface and each will have a role, but we are missing the main chance, the main economic corridor in the country runs between the east and west midlands along the M6, the M1, the WCML and the Midlands Mainline and soon HS2.  Along this corridor has been the major jobs growth, especially in logistics and modern manufacturing.

Seen in this way the historic split between west midlands and east midlands regional planning is a mistake, an historical anachronism.  The major strategic planning problem in the area is a structural one.  Access to jobs in the ‘Trent Triangle’ is almost entirely car orientated (with the notable exception of Hams Hall).  And there are major employment clusters such as Magna Park where there are closed rail lines (more than one) adjoining.

It seems to me the Midlands needs the same kind of bold thinking on transport corridors and growth locations that Transport for the North is putting together.  The focus should be on the Trent Triangle between Brum,  Rugby/Cobentry, Leicester and Burton on Trent /Derby.   An area which is in many ways the lyncpin of England.   Here there is huge potential for joined up thinking and focused investment on very high capacity/high frequency rail services (London Overground /East West Rail style) and a few new strategic rail links- especially for railfreight.  The vast increase in WCML capacity brought on by HS2  relly unlocks the potential of this area. There is also need for bold thinking on whether a strategic road network designed to encourage junction hopping is fit for purpose.

Much of the pressure to find a solution to the Brum overspill issue will focus around Birmingham /Solihull arguments, especially around growth around the NEC with the coming of HS2 to Birmingham International.  The truth is though that the NEC area has excellent national transport connections but terrible local ones.  And growth, for example, south of the A45, could be just car oriented sprawl encouraging junction hopping along the M42.  Their is potential for growth here but it needs to be carefully though through, for example growth in a high density  transit orientated corridor between Solihul town centre, Land Rover and the NEC/Birmingham Business Park along the Damson Parkway (with dedicated lanes for a BRT), protecting the vast majority of the Green Belt within the M42 as a result.

Not to neglect the ‘Northern Gateway’ area between Crewe and Stoke on Trent, but really this is and should be considered as part of Northern Powerhouse strategic planning. Again lets not be hidebound by old regional planning divisions.