In the event of not reaching a deal on this with the EU, the UK haulage industry would only be entitled to 1,200 permits under current UN rules for its current fleet of 75,000 British trucks travelling internationally.
Environmental health officers – already hit by austerity cuts – have warned that they will not be able to cope with all the additional import checks that will be required if we don’t find replacement agreements for current EU mutual recognition arrangements. This could lead to food rotting at ports due to delays, or a diminishing quality of imported food and other goods which could pose environmental and public health risks.
In November 2017 the government was forced to abandon plans for a massive lorry park to avoid Operation Stack – whereby lorries queue on the M20 outside Dover when there are hold-ups. Increased delays at the border mean it is likely that Operation Stack will become a permanent feature of Kent’s landscape, rather than an emergency measure.
In 2012, HMRC estimated that around 200,000 UK businesses exported to the EU or imported from the EU, so have never had to fill in a customs form or deal with customs authorities. The extra workload and red tape if we leave the customs union will be a shock.
The revised drivers’ training and qualifications directive was proposed by the European Commission in February 2017, and is expected to be adopted finally in summer 2018. Professional UK drivers may face legal or administrative barriers to driving on the continent after Brexit.