Council Chair calls for extra police after Operation Yellowhammer warns of no-deal Brexit traffic queues

12 September 2019, 10:23

Government documents warn there could be food and medicine shortages, delays at ports and panic buying if we leave without an agreement at the end of October.
Government documents warn there could be food and medicine shortages, delays at ports and panic buying if we leave without an agreement at the end of October. Picture: PA / Downing Street
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Police officers from all over the country should be drafted in to help deal with traffic in Kent in the event of a no-deal Brexit, the chairman of Kent County Council has said.

Paul Carter said he wants 'boots on the ground' and assurances that arrangements are in place for police officers and Highways England staff from across the country to "man the pumps".

Mr Carter's comments come after the Government was forced to publish details of plans for a no-deal Brexit.

The contingency documents include warnings of potential delays at Dover of 2 and a half days for Heavy Goods Vehicles as well as warning of possible food shortages and rising electricity prices.

The document says on day one of no-deal "between 50-85% of HGVs travelling via the short Channel Straits may not be ready for French customs.

"The lack of trader readiness combined with limited space in French ports to hold ‘unready’ HGVs could reduce the flow rate to 40-60% of current levels within one day as unready HGVs will fill the ports and block flow."

Government documents preparing for a no-deal Brexit have suggested there could be delays of one and a half to two days at Dover
Government documents preparing for a no-deal Brexit have suggested there could be delays of one and a half to two days at Dover. Picture: PA

The chief executive of the Road Haulage Association, Richard Burnett had previously said there was a "lack of clarity" as to what paperwork would be needed to ensure traffic could still flow smoothly. He said: "If one haulier is found to have incorrect documents then the knock-on effects will be catastrophic. No amount of infrastructure improvements will be able to cope with tailbacks of traffic resulting from one truck having incorrect or missing paperwork.”

Mr Carter, who leads the Conservative-controlled council, said "accelerated progress" has been made since the Yellowhammer report - released on Wednesday night - was drafted on August 2.

"There are still two or three outstanding matters which I am beating the drum on which need resolving in short order."

Asked if he was worried about a no-deal Brexit, he said: "As long as we get satisfactory answers and progress on how the operating model for customs clearance is going to work and communicate that to the logistics haulage industry, I am pretty confident that we can avoid disruption in Kent."

Michael Gove, the minister in charge of preparations for leaving without an agreement, insists it's a worst case scenario - not a prediction for the end of October.

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