Brexit for lorry drivers means they will need a Kent Access Passport (KAP) to join anticipated 7000-long tailbacks for cross Channel ferries.
Michael Gove has confirmed that a ‘de facto’ Brexit border is to be introduced for lorry drivers entering Kent to travel on to the EU. The minister for the Cabinet Office and chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster told the Commons that lorry drivers would need a “Kent access permit” to get into the county from 1 January with “police and ANPR cameras [automatic number plate recognition]” to help in enforcing the system.
It seems like the government is already threatening to break international law over an agreement it signed with the EU to have an effective customs border between Northern Ireland and the UK mainland. With just over 100 days to go before the Brexit transition period comes to an end Gove confirmed to the Commons that queues of up to 7000 trucks at the Kent ports were possible if hauliers fail to prepare for customs changes.
Industry leaders have also been concerned. One said it would need physical checks to “weed out” those with a KAP (Kent access permit) and those without, which was a non-starter in their view.
‘Kentxit’ – an Internal border?
Michael Gove hinted at what could become an ‘internal border’ in a bizarre twist to Britain’s withdrawal from the EU, he wrote to hauliers on Tuesday to warn that if they do not prepare now for Brexit they could face queues of up to 7,000 trucks in Kent, confirming internal cabinet analysis of the potential disruption caused by the UK’s departure from the single market in January. The Road Haulage Association (RHA) chief executive, Richard Burnett, said the industry “already knows” there will be queues in Kent as it had been pressing the government to take action for months.
Burnett expressed fury that the government was trying to shift the blame on to the industry. he said, quote: “Mr Gove stresses that it’s essential that traders act now to get ready for new the formalities. We know for a fact that they are only too keen to be ready but how on earth can they prepare when there is still no clarity as to what they need to do?.” Duncan Buchanan, the group’s policy director for England and Wales, said the Kent permits were “useless” and “pointless” as nobody could enforce them.
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