COUNCILS in south Essex are stockpiling fuel and planning to use bicycles to get around in the event of post-Brexit chaos on the road network.
Southend Council confirmed they had spent £2,950 on a 5,000 litre fuel storage container as part of their contingency planning for when the UK leaves the European Union.
They also confirmed they have plans in place to use the council’s existing supply of bicycles to allow emergency workers to reach people in need in the event that roads become overloaded and congested.
Their existing stock included four bicycles, four electric bicycles and one folding bicycle.
Southend Council leader, Councillor Ian Gilbert, said: “We are always reviewing, planning and building upon our established resilience and emergency plans.
“We therefore already have resources in place should Brexit create any disruption, so we can continue to deliver ‘business as usual’ for our core services.
“This is particularly important for council services such as social care, as social workers and care teams will still need to attend home visits to our most vulnerable residents for example.
“We already have a fleet of electric and standard bicycles and up to four electric cars for staff to use to attend meetings and travel around the borough on council business in a more environmentally friendly way.
“These also form part of our contingency arrangements and would be used in an emergency situation if needed.
“As part of our civil contingency requirements, we also have a back-up supply of fuel and have purchased additional storage capacity, which is sufficient to keep council services running. Although we don’t anticipate a problem with fuel supply, we need to make sure we cover all eventualities and are able to maintain our core services in all circumstances.”
Freedom of information findings also revealed that Thurrock Council has spent £8,049 to build up their own stock of bicycles during the 2018-19 financial year.
The expenditure went on ten electric bicycles, helmets, locks, hi-vis vests and jackets.
A spokesperson for the council said: “The highest assessed risk by our Emergency Resilience Group for Thurrock post Brexit is a gridlocked borough.
“The borough received £110,000 resilience money from the Government in 2018-19, of which £8,000 has been spent on ten electric bicycles.
“This equipment ensures that carers and those needing to visit vulnerable residents who require urgent domiciliary care can do so.
“The power operated bicycles are located at strategic locations across the borough and officers have already trialled these bicycles in preparation.”
The council also confirm that they had spent £1,000 on purchasing a fuel tank that will help them to stockpile fuel as part of a contingency plan requested by Essex Police.