In what has to be one of the most unusual Brexit stories you are likely to come across, councils in south Essex announced last month they would be stockpiling fuel and were planning to use bicycles to get around in the event of post-Brexit chaos on the road network.
With all the excitement of the Tour de France we momentarily (happily) forgot about the madness of our exit from the European Union and this story managed to fly right under the radar.
On July 11, as Dylan Teuns was storming up La Planche de Belles Filles on stage 6 of the Tour, Southend Council announced 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 according to Your Thurrock.
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.
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.
Two councils - Thurrock and Southend - have revealed that they are stockpiling fuel and planning to issue bicycles to workers to enable them to get around in the event of post-Brexit chaos on the road network. https://t.co/HOIeEj5tqJ
— Jon Owen (@anotherJon) August 9, 2019
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.”
With local authorities across the country struggling to cope with the increasing pressures of adult social care, perhaps this idea could actually be worth implementing regardless of Brexit fuelled chaos?