Unite has called for the leaked document detailing possible queues of up to 7,000 lorries in the UK after the Brexit transition period ends to be published.
The report outlines a worst case scenario, regardless of whether Boris Johnson secures a free trade agreement with Brussels.
Unite argues that the 46-page report should be made public to give industries, workers, councils and communities impacted by the potential disruption enough time to prepare.
The union has warned that the government’s ‘mishandling’ of preparations for Brexit will result in ‘chaos and confusion’. The report states that the technology required to handle new border arrangements will not be ready for use until 1 November – Unite has branded this as ‘beyond a joke’.
Contradicting the information in the leaked document, Logistics UK said the government had confirmed that a test version of the customs system would not be ready until mid-December.
Speaking about the situation, Unite’s national officer Adrian Jones said: “Possible queues of 7,000 lorries clogging Kent’s road system will disturb residents, HGV drivers and businesses.”
He continued: “The potential level of disruption is scary. End-to-end you’re talking about queues that would stretch from Dover, which accounts for 22% of all trade between the UK and EU, to central London.”
Jones also expressed concerns about the potential lack of facilities at the new lorry parks the government is proposing to build, stating: “Drivers are facing huge delays in eleventh-hour lorry parks with no guarantee of a clean toilet, shower or a proper meal.”
Possibly giving us a glimpse of what’s to come was Operation Stack (or Op Stack as it’s ‘affectionately’ known). The emergency measure designed to avoid gridlock in Kent was activated on Tuesday 15 September and caused a huge amount of chaos.
Counter Terrorism Police requested enhanced security checks at all UK ports, but the resulting tailbacks of lorries bound for Dover and the Channel Tunnel were up to 15 miles, with waiting times of up to nine hours.
The checks were lifted by the end of the following day.