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Brexit lorry standstill warn road hauliers

Stuart Spear22/03/2018 - 12:57

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Brexit risks massive lorry queues
Brexit risks massive lorry queues

The Road Haulage Association has warned that lorries will come to a standstill within days of Brexit if the government continues not to address EU rules on haulage licensing.

The warning came during a conference last week on the food industry operating in a post Brexit world organised by the food safety consultancy NSF.

Director of policy and public affairs at the RHA, Rod McKenzie, told delegates that not only would a hard border be ‘cataclysmic’ for the UK but that no one is addressing British lorries not being able to drive in Europe as the UK will be outside the EU haulage licensing scheme.

EU lorries traveling through Europe currently operate under a ‘Standard International Operator Licence for Transport’ or a ‘community licence’. Non-EU lorries require a restricted number of permits to travel. The UK’s allocation of permits is limited to 1,224.

‘When the UK withdraws from the EU this means we give up our right to be part of that community, so the UK needs a mobility package that allows UK hauliers the same access rights as they have now, this has not been negotiated and there is no guarantee that it will be,’ said Mr McKenzie.

He explained that with 500 British lorries crossing each day into Europe the UK’s 1,224 allocated permits to travel would run out in two and a half days. ‘No lorries would move. We’d be finished,’ said Mr Mckenzie.

He also warned that any delays at the border would lead to massive potential queues in Kent and Ireland with 5000 trucks travelling each way across the Channel each day.

He pointed out that a non-EU lorry with clean paperwork currently takes three hours to clear the border.

‘Research from Imperial College indicates 30-mile tailbacks from Dover if there is a hard border and checks of just two minutes are in place. Just for clarity a lorry stops at Dover, has its paperwork checked, that takes two minutes,’ said Mr McKenzie.

Mr McKenzie’s remarks were on the same day that transport minister Chris Grayling surprised the public health community by suggested during BBC’s Question Time that the UK would not be conducting port inspections at its borders.

Mr Grayling’s proposition has raised serious public health concerns that post-Brexit Britain could potentially become a magnet for food fraud.

‘Mr Grayling’s comments are deeply worrying as it suggests the government simple does not have an adequate understanding of the purpose and importance of port health inspection work,’ said Tony Lewis, CIEH head of policy.

‘Simply allowing vehicles to roll through our ports unchecked is a real public health risk and one that will encourage criminality and food fraud. It is time the government started taking post-Brexit border and port health issues seriously.’  


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