EAST Lancashire councils are stepping up their Brexit preparations after a letter from Government bosses.

Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, Robert Jenrick, wrote to Pendle Council signifying the Government’s intention to bring Brexit to a conclusion October 31 and in doing so it is placing more onus on local

authorities to be involved in no deal preparations.

Corporate director Philip Mousdale said: “The challenge arising out of the letter is that councils are expected not simply to work within the Lancashire Local Resilience Forum but proactively to identify local issues - for example shocks in the local economy or

problems with supply chains - and escalate them to the LRF; and also communicate with, assist and provide reassurance to local voluntary, community and business sectors.

“As a start we now have a prominent page on the Council website signposting readers to advice and information on other sites such as GOV.UK.

“We have already been promoting the EU Settlement scheme for some months.

“To complement this work expected of us MHCLG is promising major public information campaigns and improved and better directed information for councils.

“Preparations for No Deal Brexit will now be a standing item on Management Team agendas and further reports will be brought to the policy and resources committee as appropriate.

"The Lancashire LRF consists of senior staff from the police and other emergency services, all the Lancashire councils, the NHS and Environment Agency together with representatives from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG).

"It started to hold meetings on Brexit on a weekly basis at the end of 2018 but called these to a halt in April when Article 50 was extended to October 31.

"It has now re-scheduled weekly meetings which started on September 5."

Pendle Council policy and resources committee members will be updated on the issues at a meeting later this week.

According to the council's Brexit action plan, the likelihood of a negative impact on the area's economy as a result of Brexit is considered high.

The document also states the possibility of a snap general election is assessed as high, while a potential second referendum is considered medium.

Any risk to community cohesion and community safety is considered low.

According to the action plan, the LRF consider serious local demonstrations and disorder to be unlikely.

But it adds: "The possibility exists of police resources being diverted elsewhere. "There could be a possible rise in local tensions."