Han­cock: Months of chaos pos­si­ble in no-deal sce­nario

The Herald - - POLITICS - MICHAEL SET­TLE

A No-deal Brexit could lead to six months of chaos on key cross-chan­nel routes, the lat­est UK Gov­ern­ment as­sess­ment shows.

Fer­ries be­tween Dover and Calais and traf­fic us­ing the Eu­rostar Chan­nel Tun­nel ser­vice could be dis­rupted un­til the end of Septem­ber 2019.

A let­ter sent by Matt Han­cock, the UK Health Sec­re­tary, to the phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal in­dus­try and NHS con­tained the warn­ing.

He said: “Al­though we can­not know ex­actly what each mem­ber state will do with re­spect to checks on the EU border, the cross-gov­ern­ment plan­ning as­sump­tions have been re­vised so we can pre­pare for the po­ten­tial im­pacts that the im­po­si­tion of third coun­try con­trols by mem­ber states could have.

“These im­pacts are likely to be felt mostly on the short straits cross­ings into Dover and Folke­stone, where the fre­quent and closed loop na­ture of these mean that both ex­ports and im­ports would be af­fected.

“The re­vised cross-gov­ern­ment plan­ning as­sump­tions show that there will be sig­nif­i­cantly re­duced ac­cess across the short straits, for up to six months. This is very much a worstcase sce­nario; how­ever, as a re­spon­si­ble gov­ern­ment, we have a duty to plan for all sce­nar­ios.”

UK min­is­ters are draw­ing up plans to fly in vi­tal drugs and give pri­or­ity to lor­ries car­ry­ing med­i­cal sup­plies at grid­locked ports.

Paul Carter, Kent Coun­cil’s leader, called for emer­gency mea­sures to pre­vent lor­ries en­ter­ing the county to avoid chaos on the roads.

“We now need far more in­put and in­for­ma­tion from na­tional gov­ern­ment in how they are go­ing to work with us,” he in­sisted. “There must be a na­tional freight trans­port plan which, when nec­es­sary, can hold lor­ries back from com­ing into Kent in the first place should the need arise.”

With the Com­mons vote on Theresa May’s With­drawal Agree­ment ex­pected to re­sult in it be­ing re­jected by MPS, the risk of a no-deal Brexit could in­crease.

Mean­while, the Border De­liv­ery Group, a White­hall co-or­di­na­tion group for Gov­ern­ment de­part­ments with an in­ter­est in border is­sues, has held dis­cus­sions with stake­hold­ers.

The dis­cus­sions fo­cused on “the Gov­ern­ment’s no-deal plan­ning as­sump­tions for the border”, the PM’S spokesman said.

„ Grid­lock? No-deal Brexit could seize up ports, warns re­port.

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