SOUTHEND Council has bought a fuel bunker in a bid to make sure services continue to operate in the event of a fuel shortage after Brexit. 

The authority's cabinet will be given an update on the council's Brexit preparations on Tuesday. 

The move follows a previous report to cabinet in January and a letter from the Secretary of State to all council leaders in August 2019.

In the report, it outlines:

• the purchase of a fuel bunker through national Brexit funds to provide resilience for key council services should there be a short term fuel shortage. 

• a cross-organisation working group has been in place since January meeting on a regular basis, considering the impacts of Brexit in the short to medium term

• all services across the council have reviewed their business continuity plans in the context of Brexit

• the Emergency Planning team has led the liaison with the Essex Resilience Forum (ERF) which has had a specific focus on Brexit, particularly implications of a no-deal scenario, across its member organisations

• how businesses have been engaged with via multiple routes including Regulatory services, the BEST Growth Hub, the Southend Business Partnership, and through discussions with council suppliers to understand their preparation and expected impact of Brexit. 

Ian Gilbert, leader of the council, said: “Whilst the national picture remains ever-changing, the 'YellowHammer' document released by the government shows that the potential risks are serious.

"It is important that locally we prepare appropriately and as part of this, we are working constructively with partners in the public, private and voluntary sectors across the county, and helping residents and businesses access Government information about Brexit.

“Whilst we will continue to prepare where we can locally, there are limits to what we as a single local authority can do to prepare for what may be an unprecedented event, when the national picture is so unclear and shifting day by day. Ultimate responsibility for these risks rests with central Government.”