No deal ‘means months of Dover chaos’

Scottish Daily Mail - - Countdown To Brexit D-day - By Daniel Mar­tin Pol­icy Editor

CHAN­NEL ports could be plunged into six months of chaos if Bri­tain leaves the EU with­out a deal, min­is­ters claimed last night.

They said fer­ries from Dover and Folke­stone and Chan­nel Tun­nel traf­fic could be se­verely dis­rupted un­til the end of Septem­ber next year.

The tur­moil could be so bad that lor­ries car­ry­ing med­i­cal sup­plies will have to be given pri­or­ity at the ports.

Plans have also been drawn up for vi­tal drugs to be flown in. Min­is­ters are even con­sid­er­ing or­der­ing phar­ma­cists to ra­tion medicines in the event of short­ages.

Yes­ter­day Kent Coun­cil warned that grid­locked roads on the way to Dover could lead to a range of knock-on ef­fects in­clud­ing bod­ies left un­buried and waste go­ing un­col­lected. The risk of a no-deal Brexit has in­creased as it looks in­creas­ingly likely that Theresa May’s deal with Brus­sels will be re­jected by MPs on Tues­day.

The warn­ing about six months of chaos was con­tained in a let­ter sent by Health Sec­re­tary Matt Han­cock to the phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal in­dus­try and NHS bod­ies.

He said: ‘The re­vised... plan­ning as­sump­tions show that there will be sig­nif­i­cantly re­duced ac­cess across the short straits, for up to six months.

‘This is very much a worst-case sce­nario; how­ever, as a re­spon­si­ble govern­ment, we have a duty to plan for all sce­nar­ios.’

Mr Han­cock also said vi­tal medicines could be flown into the UK or shipped to al­ter­na­tive ports if the UK crashes out of the EU. Med­i­cal sup­plies ‘will be pri­ori­tised on these al­ter­na­tive routes’, he said.

The Health Sec­re­tary added: ‘Our UKwide con­tin­gency plan also con­tains other mea­sures, in­clud­ing ar­range­ments for the air freight of medicines with a short shelf life.’ Mr Han­cock also sug­gested that cur­rent plans to have drug firms stock­pile six weeks’ worth of sup­plies might not go far enough. The Times re­ported that plans be­ing con­sulted on by the Depart­ment of Health would en­able min­is­ters to is­sue a ‘se­ri­ous short­age pro­to­col’ for phar­ma­cies, al­low­ing them to al­ter or change pre­scrip­tions to pre­serve drug sup­plies.

Mr Han­cock told Ra­dio 4’s To­day pro­gramme: ‘This is some­thing we are con­sult­ing on.’ In a sep­a­rate doc­u­ment, Kent Coun­cil warned that bod­ies may re­main un­col­lected and chil­dren might miss ex­ams due to grid­locked roads in the event of a nodeal Brexit.

It said refuse could blight the streets and food de­liv­er­ies could be dis­rupted as the county copes with 10,000 lor­ries parked or stacked on its roads.

The 17-page re­port laid bare the pos­si­bil­ity of ‘pro­longed dis­rup­tion’. It could re­sult in staff short­ages in ar­eas such as so­cial care and the de­liv­ery of medicines, the coun­cil said. And the coro­ner ser­vice ‘could face dif­fi­cul­ties with the trans­port of the de­ceased to post mortem or body stor­age fa­cil­i­ties... and travel by pathol­o­gists to mor­tu­ary to con­duct post mortems’.

Leaked govern­ment pa­pers sug­gest Ire­land could suf­fer more from a no-deal Brexit than the UK, with a pro­jected 7 per cent drop in GDP com­pared to 5 per cent for Bri­tain.

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