GRIDLOCKED roads, food shortages and a lack of medicines are all potential risks a no-deal Brexit could have on the Braintree district, according to a secret report.

Documents compiled by Braintree Council highlight some of the potential issues caused by the UK leaving the European Union without a withdrawal agreement in place and suggest they would take effect in a matter of weeks if this were the case.

Among the threats identified are severe congestion on both the A12 and A120 due to potential delays at both Stansted Airport and Harwich International Port.

The report, which was made public following a freedom of information request submitted by the People’s Vote campaign, suggests these delays will in turn affect freight deliveries which help bring food and medicines into the district.

Further concerns are raised about the harm to the economy and job growth due to the lack of funding once provided by the EU, with figures showing £800,000 was secured from Brussels in the last financial year.

All councils across England have produced a risk register report to establish the impact a no-deal Brexit could have at local government level.

Braintree Council’s report also raises concerns about new housing developments in the district being affected, regardless of whether a deal is struck with the EU.

It suggests developers may delay the construction of homes or sale of land for new homes due to uncertainty in the economy.

Of all the areas looked at by the council, economic development, operations and communications are considered most at risk, with the report suggesting the authority is “unprepared” for the potential impact of a no-deal Brexit on those sectors.

A council spokesman said: “Like every council, Braintree Council has a legal duty under the Civil Contingencies Act 2004 to provide and maintain robust and resilient contingency plans. This internal working document is a draft and officers have looked at a number of scenarios to make sure we are prepared for a range of possibilities. We will continue to review this in line with any further work undertaken or information known.”

'This is not project fear'

Campaigners have described the report as a “sobering assessment” of what could happen to the district.

Essex for Europe, which is calling on the UK to remain in the European Union, insists the concerns of a no-deal scenario are not exaggerated and has once again called for a second referendum on the issue.

Essex for Europe member Carole White said: “The concerns identified here are not hyperbole from politicians in the Remain campaign or exaggeration by journalists. They are the sober assessment of public officials in Braintree dedicated to the provision of key services from housing to traffic and waste management.

“This is not ‘project fear’ so much as ‘project here’ because the impact on council services will affect thousands of people.

“These risk registers should provide a wake-up call to both politicians and the public.”

'Plans are in place for a no deal Brexit'

Braintree's MP has rejected concerns about the district council’s report on the impact of a no-deal Brexit.

James Cleverly insists the documents are a worst case scenario and says the government has a number of plans in place should the UK leave the EU without a deal in place.

The Conservative Party chairman told the Times: “The government is working on making sure we are prepared for Brexit and I believe plans are in place to make it a real success.

“We have been making sure at all levels of government there will be enough support in place. There has also been a lot of planning put in place to make sure our ports and airports continue to operate smoothly.

“A lot of the headlines people are seeing are not actually predictions, they are the worst case scenario. Of course the government would still prefer to secure a deal with the EU but we will leave regardless on October 31.”