Post-Transition Borders Preparedness (UK)

On 10th Dec, the Chair of the EU Goods Sub-Committee wrote to the UK CDL Michael Gove with questions. The EU Goods Sub-Committee is a Lords Sub-Committee of the European Union Select Committee.

This letter is found here. The questions are identified in bold.

In November 2020 the Committee held five evidence sessions on preparedness for the end of transition, and the arrangements for the import and export of goods after the transition period.

The letter presents to the Government the key findings of the inquiries, asks urgent questions and makes recommendations.

Key Findings

• Crucial IT systems to deal with customs declarations and accessing Kent are still in testing and may not be ready for the end of transition.

• Small businesses will struggle to access these IT systems, or the services of the customs intermediary sector which appears to be under-resourced.

• The traffic management plan is vulnerable to closures, and the plan splits traffic well before drivers would normally make the decision on which route to take.

• Facilities for drivers are inadequate and will have serious welfare, safety and legal implications for those stuck in what may be delayed queues. Comfort breaks and sustenance have not been adequately considered or provided for.

• Animal welfare issues may arise for vehicles carrying livestock if they are stuck in queues for a long time.

• There is widespread uncertainty and the guidance provided by the Government has been complicated and unclear.

Separately (also in the week to 10th Dec), nine organisations involved in the supply of goods to the UK wrote to the UK transport minister Grant Schapps to warn that the current levels of congestion at the country’s leading container ports could continue for some time to come.

This report is here.

In response to pressures on local and national supply chains, the UK Department for Transport, pursuant to Article 14(2) of Regulation (EC) No 561/2006, introduced a temporary and limited urgent relaxation of the enforcement of EU drivers’ hours rules in England, Scotland and Wales.

These temporary relaxations apply from 12:01am on 10 December 2020 until 11:59pm on 30 December 2020, subject to review.

This notice is here.

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