In advance of the UK Government publishing advice notices about how to deal with Brexit after the 29th March 2019 the EU Commission has published their own including the position on Customs Controls at the Channel ports which will mean that the seamless movement of goods between the UK and the rest of the EU is unlikely. The Port of Dover which already handles over 10,000 lorries and 6000 cars and coaches a day has made it clear that any delays on the French or UK sides will cause massive traffic problems on the M20 and on surrounding roads. The Highways Agency is already working to turn the M20 coastbound between Hollingbourne and Ashford into a giant lorry park with the London bound side being modified to carry other traffic in both directions. Thousands of other vehicles use the the Eurotunnel each day and this is also served by the M20 so Hollingbourne at Junction 8 could be affected. It is expected that temporary loos sand other services will be provided alongside the 13 mile stretch of the M20 from Hollingbourne at Junction 8 to Ashford at Junction 9.
A link to the EU Commission website with details of all of their 68 advice notices covering a diverse range of subjects including Communications, Employment, Energy, Environment, Industry,HR, Justice, Fishing, Transport, Health and Safety, and Trade and Customs is at https://ec.europa.eu/info/brexit/brexit-preparedness/preparedness-notices_en
The one that might have the most impact on Hollingbourne is the one relating to Customs procedures at the border and this can be downloaded here tradoc_156573.pdf (54 downloads) . At the moment the Port of Dover says that it takes an average of two minutes to process a vehicle through Customs while a two minute delay results in a 17 mile tailback on the M20 within four hours. It is understood that the likely time to meet the EU criteria on both sides of the Channel will be 20-30 minutes so the risk of traffic issues affecting Hollingbourne and much of Kent is significant. During Operation Stack in 2015 when there were delays at Calais there were traffic problems all over Kent for more than 30 days.
The first 24 Technical notes published after the EU data by the UK Government on 23rd August are at https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/how-to-prepare-if-the-uk-leaves-the-eu-with-no-deal . Among the topics covered as Farming including the end of EU subsidies, Trade including Customs, Product Labelling, Money including Credit Card Fees and Banking plus Tax, Medicines and their supply and approval, Education including the Erasmus Student Exchange Programme, and Employment.
The same link can be used to see the further Technical Notes issued on 13th September and any subsequent ones. The Notes issued on 13th September cover matters include EU Grants, Driving, Litigation, Labelling of products, Business Regulations, the Environment, and Travel.
The UK Technical Notes confirm that there could be extra Customs procedures possibly causing traffic Kent traffic problems because of the additional administration as follows:
This means customs declarations would be needed when goods enter the UK (an import declaration), or when they leave the UK (an export declaration). Separate safety and security declarations would also need to be made by the carrier of the goods (this is usually the haulier, airline or shipping line, depending on the mode of transport used to import or export goods).
The Press Association summary of the UK Government’s Technical Notes issued to local media on 23rd August 2018 reads as follows:-
The removal of an EU ban on credit and debit card surcharges is “likely” to increase the cost of shopping.
-UK citizens living in Europe face the possibility of losing access to their pension income and other financial services.
Consumers would face another potential cost increase when online shopping, with parcels arriving in the UK no longer liable for low value consignment relief (LVCR) on VAT.
-Businesses exporting to Europe may have to “renegotiate commercial terms” to reflect customs and other tariff changes.
-The firms may also need to pay out for new software or hire “a customs broker, freight forwarder or logistics provider” to help them deal with new requirements.
-Companies exporting across the Irish border should “consider whether you will need advice from the Irish Government about preparations you need to make”.
-Importing nuclear materials from the EU may require a licence.
-Medicines and other medical products will have to go through “national assessment” before they receive market authorisation to be sold in the UK.
-NHS patients may face delays accessing innovative treatments.
-Cigarette packet health warnings would change as the current images used are copyrighted to the EU.
-Organic food producers face a “cliff edge” of exporting to the EU only if certified by a body approved by the European commission, with certification taking up to nine months after Brexit.
-The government is planning to recruit an extra 9,000 staff into the civil service to deal with Brexit, in addition to 7,000 currently working on preparations.
-The government will pay for British aid organisation programmes whose funding could be ended in the event of no deal.”
Pictured below is Operation Stack at Hollingbourne on the M20 in 2015 which might become a more regular occurrence.
Pictured below is a traffic jam in Eyhorne Street in 2015 caused by traffic problems around Junction 8 of the M20 caused by Operation Stack.