Emergency measures to prevent food shortages
“Emergency” measures are planned at ports to prevent food shortages in British supermarkets due to Brexit.
Empty lorries crossing the Channel to restock will be allowed to skip queues at key ports, as concerns build in Whitehall that the disruption is set to worsen.
A government document reveals: “We are proposing an emergency contingency measure, to expedite the return of empty food lorries from the UK to the EU where they can be restocked with supplies.”
The government proposal has been sent to industry groups by the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
Liz Truss, the trade secretary, said it was time to “move forward”, despite the government publishing economic impact assessments.
Almost 300 lorries a day will be fast-tracked outside Dover and Folkston.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs stated 25% of supermarket deliveries were delayed for several days when the UK-French border closed in December.
Under the new plan if lorries could demonstrate they are working for a large supermarket or supplier, they can bypass traffic if they can prove they will return within seven days.
Lorry drivers will also have to have a negative Covid test result before entering.
The “emergency” action at ports follows the supermarket warnings that the agreement is “pretty much unworkable” and how gaps have appeared in fresh produce isles in numerous supermarkets across the UK.
Ten percent of the UKs food supply travels over the Dover-Calais route across the channel.