THE Port of Southampton has been awarded a slice of a government fund to help prepare it for Brexit.

It has won a share of a £10million pot intended to pay for measures such as extra lorry parking, more container storage and improved road access in ports across the UK.

The government announced that five south coast ports would receive £1.75million as part of a scheme to help ports prepare the scheduled Brexit date of Thursday, October 31.

The Department for Transport (DfT) said Southampton, Portsmouth, Poole, Plymouth and Newhaven were among 16 successful bidders nationally in the £10m Port Infrastructure Resilience and Connectivity (PIRC) competition.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps said: “Our world-leading maritime ports are fundamental not only to our success as a global trading nation but also to people’s everyday lives, bringing vital goods into the country.

“This timely investment will support ports across the country in their work to boost capacity and efficiency, ensuring they’re ready for Brexit and a successful future,” he added.

The government added: “The fund provides ports up to £1m each to deliver important infrastructure upgrades, including more space for HGV parking and container storage as well as enhanced vehicle access facilities and signage to help keep traffic and trade flowing smoothly across the border.”

The DfT has also provided £5m to local resilience forums (LRF) – partnerships made up of representatives from local public services, including the emergency services, in areas with key freight ports. Hampshire and the Isle Wight make up one of four resilience forums to receive money from the fund.

The fund aims to help the resilience forums build infrastructure improvements and ensure traffic flows smoothly at the border when Britain leaves the European Union.

Another £15m will go towards developing longer-term projects to boost road and rail links to ports and ensure freight can move faster.

The £30m funding comes as part of a £2.1bn government investment to step-up the UK’s preparations for leaving the EU.

A spokesperson for ABP, which operates Southampton’s port, said: “We welcome the news of the allocation of funds from the Port Infrastructure and Resilience Fund (PIRC).

“This will be used across a number of port infrastructure upgrades that will enhance resilience following the country’s exit from the EU.”

Britain is due to leave the EU on October 31. But an act of Parliament passed against the government’s wishes requires the prime minister to seek an extension to the Brexit date if a withdrawal agreement is not reached by October 18. Boris Johnson has said he will comply with the law but also says he will not ask for an extension.