Christmas rush and Brexit uncertainty fuel miles-long lorry queues

PA

Christmas stockpiling and Brexit uncertainty have again caused huge queues of lorries to stack up in Kent.

A long line of HGVs stretched up to five miles on the M20 as freight drivers headed for the Eurotunnel.

The latest delays came as the UK marked less than two weeks until 2021 and the end of the Brexit transition period.

Businesses, in a bid to avoid cross-Channel disruption in January, are stockpiling goods before the new year, in addition to the usual Christmas rush.

On Saturday morning the queue along the left-hand lane of the motorway started in the Ashford area and stretched several miles to the Eurotunnel entrance at Folkestone.

There were also long lines of HGVs along the M20 between Capel-le-Ferne – the site of the Battle of Britain memorial on the White Cliffs – to the port of Dover.

A deal has yet to be struck between the UK and the EU, which has led to uncertainty among traders and fears that as many as 60% of Kent businesses are not prepared for a no-deal Brexit.

Lorries without the proper paperwork could be turned away from the border from January 1.

But Port of Dover chief executive Doug Bannister told the PA news agency on Friday that he was confident Dover would be able to handle any uncertainty.

He said: “Dover has a proven track record to handle disruption in a good, successful way, and we are able to manage the disruption and importantly recover the position very swiftly indeed.”

Mr Bannister added that increased freight ahead of December 31 means the first weeks of 2021 could be calmer.

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