The NFU welcomes the easing of the French border restrictions and is working closely with food and supply chain businesses to monitor potential disruption and impact on farm and consumers
The move to requiring a negative test to enter France means there is a backlog of drivers and lorries that need to be cleared, and businesses are urged to seek driver tests before loads leave depot or despatch wherever possible. Many of these lorries and drivers delayed in Kent are required for return loads after Christmas, which may have implications for inputs and finished goods.
The Channel ports are a key route for perishable goods in particular.
NFU head of food and farming Philip Hambling said: “The priority is clearly driver welfare and ensuring they get a test as soon as possible, therefore ramping up testing capacity in Kent is essential to clear the backlog. The new protocol requirements are likely to be in place for the coming weeks and it is both a critical time for the end of our EU transition period - and for the supply chain to restock after Christmas.
"Disruption in travel from UK to France also places uncertainty and potential delay on freight coming the other way so its important that we minimise friction as much as possible."
More from NFUonline:
- Preparing your farming business for the end of the transition period
- NFU and Irish Farmers' Association issue joint EU exit statement
- The seven key things that will help farmers manage the process of leaving the EU