I’ll fight lorry park bid, says council leader Government gives itself extra planning powers
THE leader of West Lancashire Borough Council has promised to fight any plans for a lorry park in the borough after the Government gave itself new powers to bypass the planning process.
Under legislation passed last week, the Government gave itself permission to override the usual planning processes in order to construct holding facilities needed post-Brexit.
That means it will not need to seek permission to build the giant lorry parks, which will be used to prevent giant backlogs of traffic seeking to leave the country’s borders.
With just four months until Britain leaves the EU’s single market and customs union, no replacement system has yet been arranged meaning all goods vehicles will need new paperwork when heading to the EU.
The government has already started constructing holding facilities for lorries in Kent, which will be used to park goods vehicles which don’t have the correct paperwork to enter the EU. Last week, it gave itself the power to build similar facilities in 29 areas including Lancashire.
It is not yet clear where in the county the Government would want to build such a facility, though the most likely site is in the area of Heysham to serve the town’s port.
However, West Lancashire’s location on the M58 corridor linking to Sefton’s super port has created fears that the area could also be a target. But council leader Cllr Ian Moran has pledged to do everything possible to prevent a lorry park being created in the borough.
He said: “Residents should be assured that as a council we will vigorously oppose the imposition of lorry parks in our area. The county of Kent is already becoming known as the Garage of England, instead of the Garden of England, given the impending transport chaos there.
“We do not want something similar to happen in our area, and we will do all we can to stop plans, should the government try to force this upon us.
“The better option for all is for the government to reach a deal with the EU which removes any need for massive lorry congestion, and all the environmental harm that this brings.
“When we undertook a full and democratic consultation over outline proposals for the development of some areas in the M58 corridor, it was clear that residents were opposed to it and they presented sound reasons why development should not proceed here.
“We had no problem with that, because that is how a proper planning process works. We do have a problem with central government dictating how our land is used or abused, without warning or consultation, and we will do our utmost to protect the interests of the area.
“We won’t allow our Grade 1 Agricultural Land to be concreted over so the government can place massively polluting lorry parks on it.”