4 Sep 2019

Leaked document warns of ‘prolonged disruption’ at Channel ports

A risk assessment for Kent warns of “prolonged disruption of one or more channel crossing routes for a period of more than three months”.


A no-deal Brexit could cause “prolonged disruption” to cross-Channel routes for more than three months, according to a local risk assessment leaked to Channel 4 News.

The assessment warns of “exceptionally high volumes of traffic” on roads in Kent – home to Dover and the Channel Tunnel – and says “plans must be developed to provide capacity for managing queues that may build to 10-12,000 vehicles”.

The internal document was prepared for the Kent Resilience Forum, a group bringing together representatives of Kent County Council, the local constabulary, Highways England and the Department for Transport.

Update: The document is available on the ‘Kent Prepared’ website.

The latest version was issued last week and contains a section called “new risk”, which warns of “prolonged disruption of one or more channel crossing routes for a period of more than three months”.

It goes on to say: “This risk relates to potential disruption at the border, in the event of a ‘no deal’ scenario, which may cause delays at the Port of Dover and Eurotunnel.”

The assessment warns of disruption to local traffic and to the supply of food and medicines.

Kent Resilience Forum (KRF) assesses the risk level as “very high” but adds: “KRF has robust plans in place across the partnership to mitigate the impact of this risk on Kent’s communities, businesses, KRF responders and wider partners.

“These plans will ensure that partners can respond to adverse impacts as well as continue to deliver their most critical services.”

The local risk assessment echoes other official documents in its warning of potentially lengthy disruption at the Channel ports.

The Yellowhammer report – leaked last month – said delays at the border with France could last three months, “although disruption could continue much longer.”

But it added: “The French might act to ensure some flow through the Channel crossings.”

Michael Gove, the minister in charge of no-deal planning, said Yellowhammer was an attempt to plan for the worst-case scenario that might follow a no-deal exit from the EU.

A spokesman for the Department for Transport told Channel 4 News the government had committed to spending an extra £20m this week to help plan for congestion in Kent.