All lorry drivers entering Kent in order to travel on to the EU will need an access permit from 1st January 2020, the UK government has confirmed.
The permit will be required for both British and foreign drivers if they intend to board a ferry or use the Eurotunnel. Each permit would be valid for 24 hours for a single trip.
Vehicles will be identified using automatic number plate recognition (ANPR), with the system enforced by police. Proposals include a £300 fine for those who do not comply.
This places a de facto border between Kent and the rest of the country. Those without all the necessary documents may be referred to an HMRC office or a third-party consignor to complete custom checks, or turned away from the port entirely.
According to a letter to the logistics industry from Michael Gove, minister for the Cabinet Office and chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster, there is a worst reasonable case scenario of queues of around 7,000 lorries if businesses do not sufficiently prepare for the new regulations, with delays of up to two days—echoing some of the predictions of Operation Yellowhammer last year.
Richard Burnett, chief execute of the Road Haulage Association (RHA), responded: “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?”
The RHA reported that its meeting with Gove last Thursday was a “waste of time”.