Leaked no-deal risk assessment spells 'prolonged disruption' at Channel ports

PUBLISHED: 18:09 04 September 2019 | UPDATED: 18:10 04 September 2019

Lorries queue to get their ferry crossings across The Channel in Dover, Kent, as Storm Aileen brought howling gusts and heavy showers to parts of the UK.

Lorries queue to get their ferry crossings across The Channel in Dover, Kent, as Storm Aileen brought howling gusts and heavy showers to parts of the UK.

PA Archive/PA Images

A no-deal Brexit could seen over 10,000 lorries clog the roads around cross-Channel routes, potentially causing "prolonged disruption" for more than three months, according to a leaked risk assessment.

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The document, which was leaked to Channel 4 news, warns of "exceptionally high volumes of traffic" on Kent roads which lead to Dover and the Channel Tunnel. It adds that "plans must be developed to provide capacity for managing queues that may build to 10-12,000 vehicles".

A report on Channel 4 News reveals the internal document was prepared for the Kent Resilience Forum, a group bringing together representatives of Kent County Council, the local constabulary, Highways England and the Department for Transport.

The latest version was issued last week and contains a section called "new risk", which warns of "prolonged disruption of one or more channel crossing routes for a period of more than three months".

It goes on to say: "This risk relates to potential disruption at the border, in the event of a 'no deal' scenario, which may cause delays at the Port of Dover and Eurotunnel."

The assessment warns of disruption to local traffic and to the supply of food and medicines.

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Kent Resilience Forum (KRF) assesses the risk level as "very high" but adds: "KRF has robust plans in place across the partnership to mitigate the impact of this risk on Kent's communities, businesses, KRF responders and wider partners. These plans will ensure that partners can respond to adverse impacts as well as continue to deliver their most critical services."

The local risk assessment echoes other official documents in its warning of potentially lengthy disruption at the Channel ports.

The Yellowhammer report - leaked last month - said delays at the border with France could last three months, "although disruption could continue much longer".

But it added: "The French might act to ensure some flow through the Channel crossings.

Michael Gove, the minister in charge of no-deal planning, said Yellowhammer was an attempt to plan for the worst-case scenario that might follow a no-deal exit from the EU.

A spokesman for the Department for Transport told Channel 4 News the government had committed to spending an extra £20m this week to help plan for congestion in Kent.

Portsmouth city council's Liberal Democrat chief hit out at government preparations for overflow traffic last month, saying the extra funds offered were not nearly enough.

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