Update on Dumfries and Galloway’s preparations for Brexit

Dumfries and Galloway Council gave an update this week on its work to prepare for Brexit.

The local authority is planning in partnership with other agencies for the UK’s exit from the European Union.

Dumfries and Galloway Citizen Advice Service is coordinating the EU Nationals Support Scheme. Dumfries and Galloway Council provide the ID verification through the registration service for applicants unable to verify through their mobile device.

Transport Scotland is coordinating overflow arrangements at the ports and Scottish Enterprise, Skills Development Scotland, Business Gateway and Scottish Development International are coordinating business related work.

Chief Executive Gavin Stevenson is chairman of the Scottish Resilience Partnership – Civil Contingencies. This involves Local Authorities, Police Scotland, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, Ambulance Service, HM Coastguard, NHS, Port Health Authorities and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency.

In addition, the Council’s Resilience and Community Safety Manager has been seconded to the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives (SOLACE) to lead and coordinate Scottish Local Authorities management of UKs exit of the EU.

COSLA and Scottish Government are monitoring the national situation and the Council provide updates on risks and concerns. The Council has also established a ’UK Exiting the EU Group’ which meets weekly to discuss emerging issues and plan accordingly.

UK and Scottish Governments provide guidance on the impacts for the first 12 weeks following the UK leaving the EU without a deal. This information has been worked through by Services to understand the potential impacts on our region.

Areas include: Environmental Health – Export of locally produced foodstuffs; Import and Exports / Food Supplies / Transport; Workforce; Returnees; Layering of Impacts; Demonstrations and Disorder; Businesses; Economic Downturn; EU Funding for the Region.

Dumfries and Galloway Council was allocated £50,000 by the Scottish Government to assist with preparations. Feedback from other Local Authorities has indicated that the funding is being used for staffing resources to support the monitoring, planning and managing of the UKs exit.

Leader of Dumfries and Galloway Council, Elaine Murray said: “This initial financial support is welcomed; however, the Council will require further financial investments from both the UK and Scottish Governments following an exit without a deal. The Council, as a member of Dumfries and Galloway Local Resilience Partnership, has made representations to Transport Scotland to request that they take forward the ‘overflow’ contingency plan which would manage the traffic and delays that may be experienced at the ports in Cairnryan, so that disruption to the community is minimal.

“This would include Transport Scotland’s commitment to finance the implementation costs and to reach agreement with Stena to make the East Pier a suitable location to hold overflow traffic for the ports.”

Depute, Rob Davidson, said “There is nothing set in stone, and we do not have a crystal ball. We are planning for a worst-case scenario on the assumption that the UK leaves the EU without an agreed deal. We are not planning for what will happen, but we need to cover every possible outcome.

“For example, one possible area of concern has been identified within Environmental Health where the need for Export Health Certification could impact on staffing levels and we are looking ways to address this, should it become a problem. It is though our thorough, ongoing planning that we have identified issues and are working hard to prepare for all eventualities.”

For further details from this Committee report go to: Brexit Report