HAMPSHIRE civic chiefs are swinging their no-deal Brexit plans into action next week in case the UK crashes out of the EU on October 31.

A checkpoint and lorry park will be opened on the A31 between Winchester and Alresford to hold HGVs in case of delays at Portsmouth International Port.

Starting overnight on Monday October 28, drivers into Portsmouth on the M275 will see a new 40mph speed limit introduced southbound as part of wider plans to manage congestion.

The 40mph speed limit and signage on the M275 will be introduced over three nights.

If a deal is reached or a further extension agreed with the EU, then the changes will be reversed.

The Hampshire Local Resilience Forum (LRF) has been preparing for a worst case scenario in the event of a no deal.

With the possibility of the UK leaving the EU without a deal, and the latest national planning assumptions suggesting that up to 70 per cent of HGVs would not be ‘border ready’ on day one of a no-deal, the contingency arrangements are now being implemented.

Operation Transmission is a multi-agency plan developed to mitigate the potential disruption with the creation of checkpoints on the approach to Portsmouth to prevent the arrival of non-border ready vehicles.

Signage will direct HGVs to the most appropriate checkpoint according to their direction of approach to Portsmouth, with the main checkpoint and holding facility on the A31 between Winchester and Alresford. A contraflow will be in operation to keep the A31 open in both directions.

All EU-bound hauliers travelling from the M3, A34, M25 and A3M will be directed to the A31 site to allow them to get border ready. There is a second checkpoint at Tipner, however this facility does not have any capacity for holding HGVs if not border ready and non-border ready vehicles arriving there will be sent away. Hauliers are therefore being advised to attend the A31 checkpoint in the first instance.

A 3km section of the A303, on the link road from junction 8 of the M3, has been identified as an extra contingency for holding HGVs if capacity at the A31 site is reached.

Chairman of the LRF Strategic Coordinating Group, Neil Odin, chief fire officer for Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “Our role within the LRF is to plan for the reasonable worst case scenario set out in the Government’s contingency planning assumptions.

“For many months now, we have been working extremely hard to identify what that is and look at the ways we can mitigate and manage the risks that are likely to arise.

“Our focus is to keep the port operating, keep the freight going in and out of the UK and enable the population of Portsmouth and South Hampshire to continue to go about their daily lives.”