Impacts of UK-France border closure on food and farming

Dover port

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."

Temporary urgent relaxations of enforcement of EU drivers' hours rules

In response to pressures on local and national supply chains, the Department for Transport has pursuant to Article 14(2) of Regulation (EC) No 561/2006, introduced two temporary urgent relaxations of the enforcement of EU drivers’ hours rules in England, Scotland and Wales from 00:01 23 December 2020 to 23:59 on 22 January 2021.

Please see the documents linked below for details:

If there any questions about these relaxations, then please email the following: [email protected].

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