Fears raised over no-deal ferry chaos

The Scotsman - - News Digest - By AN­GUS HOWARTH

A no-deal Brexit could lead to six months of chaos on key cross-chan­nel routes, ac­cord­ing to the lat­est govern­ment assess­ment.

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

A let­ter sent by Health Sec­re­tary Matt Han­cock 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. “

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

Kent Coun­cil’s leader Paul Carter 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 said.

“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.”

The Bor­der De­liv­ery Group, a White­hall co­or­di­na­tion group for govern­ment de­part­ments that have an in­ter­est in bor­der is­sues, was hold­ing dis­cus­sions with key stake­hold­ers on Fri­day, a spokesman for Mrs May said.

The dis­cus­sions cen­tre on “the govern­ment’s no deal plan­ning as­sump­tions for the bor­der”, the spokesman said.

Labour leader Jeremy Cor­byn said “all op­tions” – in­clud­ing a sec­ond ref­er­en­dum – must be on the ta­ble if Mrs May’s deal is re­jected next week.

Writ­ing in a na­tional daily news­pa­per, Mr Cor­byn made clear that his pre­ferred re­sult re­mains a gen­eral elec­tion.

Jeremy Cor­byn prefers the gen­eral elec­tion op­tion

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