Analysis: Council warnings show far-reaching no-deal Brexit consequences

Thousands of pounds could be spent on tariffs, and identifying extra storage sites for waste has been discussed
Brendan Hughes

DETAILS of the no-deal Brexit concerns and contingency planning by Northern Ireland's biggest council highlight its potentially far-reaching impact.

While the north's focus has understandably been on fears of a hard border with the Republic, leaving the EU without a deal presents challenges on many fronts.

For Belfast City Council, and presumably for other local authorities, carrying out their most basic function of waste management could become a problem.

Councils export substantial quantities of recyclables to the EU as well as domestic and business waste to be used as refuse-derived fuel.

But in their no-deal Brexit contingency plans, Belfast council officials warn that increased checks and delays at the ports could lead to a waste backlog.

Thousands of pounds could be spent on export tariffs, and identifying extra storage sites for waste has been discussed.

A loss of trade for businesses, food shortages for animals at Belfast Zoo and possible cyber attacks are among other fears.

Extra fuel has even been stored for the crematorium.

This confidential report, details from which have been leaked to The Irish News, is simply the latest source of warnings about a no-deal Brexit.

Report after report has warned of the UK's ill-preparedness for leaving the EU without a deal. Only a week ago 'Operation Yellowhammer' - the British government's no-deal Brexit contingency plan - was leaked, revealing concerns of shortages of fuel, food and medicine.

Hardline Brexiteers will again dismiss the latest concerns to emerge as "project fear", but many will see the issues raised as a further warning of the tanigble impact of Brexit on people's everyday lives.

It is welcome that some authorities like Belfast City Council have quietly been preparing behind the scenes.

As the October 31 Brexit deadline looms, expect preparations among councils and other public bodies to ramp up as the coming weeks prove crucial in mitigating against the worst potential problems.

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