Transport Scotland and partners have signed off Operation Overflow, a contingency plan in case of disruption at Cairnryan ports caused by EU exit.
The Scottish Government has signed a lease with Stair Estates, the owner of Castle Kennedy airfield in Stranraer so that, from 1 January, the airfield will be able to accommodate up to 240 goods vehicles, with welfare facilities, if port capacity is exceeded.
The aim is to manage queuing vehicles and ensure freight can flow freely between Scotland and Northern Ireland, without a detrimental impact on local communities.
Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity, Michael Matheson said:
“Scotland did not vote for EU exit and we regret having to prepare for it – particularly in the midst of a global pandemic. However the Cairnryan crossings are important for Scottish exporters and the ports themselves, and are also of strategic importance to Northern Ireland so we are taking action to protect them.
“At this stage we do not expect a significant increase in traffic or delays at Cairnryan, but it is essential that we are prepared for every eventuality.
“I’m pleased to confirm that working with the Local Resilience Partnership, we have agreed a contingency plan in order to minimise disruption to the local community and promote road safety.”
Operation Overflow is a Contingency Plan for Dumfries and Galloway Local Resilience Partnership (LRP) and has been developed with Transport Scotland, Police Scotland, P&O, Stena and Scottish Fire & Rescue.
From 1 January there will be new requirements on goods moving between Great Britain and Northern Ireland. There will be new checks on departure which could result in vehicles being turned away if found to be non-compliant.