Lorry drivers worried about lack of food and toilet provision in no-deal Brexit

Support us and go ad-free

Lorry drivers in Dover face the “absolutely outrageous” scenario of sitting in two-day long queues without food or toilets if the UK crashes out of the EU, hauliers have warned.

A Road Haulage Association (RHA) spokesperson said a no-deal Brexit means thousands of drivers may end up waiting in queues of more than 48 hours with no welfare facilities.

The RHA is among organisations meeting cabinet ministers in Dover later to discuss preparations for Brexit at the border.

Duncan Buchanan, policy director for the RHA in England and Wales, will meet Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Michael Gove, Home Secretary Priti Patel and Transport Secretary Grant Shapps at the Port of Dover.

He told PA: “I think people underestimate the scale of the complexity of it.”

Speaking about potential delays in Dover in a no-deal scenario, he said: “I believe the reasonable best case scenario that authorities are working on is between 24 and 48 hour delays on all vehicles.

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free

“All vehicles, all lorries going through the port. I think that’s possibly optimistic.

“I think it’s actually certainly optimistic.”

He added that another concern is that there is no provision for how vans are going to be dealt with.

“We have huge road delays. We have serious problems. If a lorry is caught up 24 hours on the motorway, where does the driver go to the toilet?

“They’re putting in no welfare provisions whatsoever. This is absolutely outrageous that drivers can be treated like they’re completely unimportant.

“There needs to be proper facilities for drivers so that their welfare is looked after,” he said.

Buchanan said there are 60 working days to get this sorted, adding: “It needs to be done as a matter of speed.”

He said he has heard people say drivers will need to bring “picnic hampers” due to delays.

“It’s ridiculous,” he said, adding: “The idea that they’re going into the bushes to go to the toilet on the side of a motorway, I mean, what planet is that on?”

Brexit
A view of the M20 motorway near Maidstone in Kent (Gareth Fuller/PA)

He also pointed out the legal issue whereby drivers of heavy goods vehicles are limited in the amount of hours they are allowed to drive in a day.

“So if they run out of working hours, they’re not allowed to drive so the queue will go in really funny and odd ways, because people are going to have to overtake people who are taking rests.

“Far more complicated than the average lay person understands.

“These are issues I wish I could say to you have been sorted out and have been addressed properly but they’re not,” he said.

Asked if it is possible to sort these issues out in 60 days, he said the first priority is to minimise the queues.

Brexit
A view of the M20 motorway near Ashford in Kent, as one side of the main motorway to the Port of Dover closes for Operation Brock (Gareth Fuller/PA)

“What we need to do is to have good accurate and complete information so the lorries can get on the ferries and get off the ferries really quickly without anyone being turned around.

“If we get that done then the problem is minimised.

“That’s why we need the clear instructions from government, the training, provision, online training for traders, we need end to end journey explanations of who does what.

“At the moment traders don’t know what they have to do, they don’t know who they need to talk to, they don’t know who’s responsible for what.”

Operation Brock has already been deployed to keep the M20 open in both directions in Kent.

In the event of disruption in Dover, lorries travelling to mainland Europe will be held on the coastbound carriageway while a contraflow system will operate across other lanes.

The previous method for dealing with lorries queuing, known as Operation Stack, meant sections of the motorway were closed and caused chaos for local journeys.

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us
  • Show Comments
    1. I’m a lorry driver in my truck I have everything I need for a week or two on the road.
      Toilet provision is a large bottle a bucket and black bags only to be used in an emergency.
      Parking provision for HGV countrywide is abysmal and we are easy targets for criminals with thefts of diesel and loads rife as private industrial estates ban overnight parking and truckstops and MSA have no security in pursuit of profit.
      The CC of Kent has declared war on truckers with parking restrictions and fines, a stop in Kent can cost a driver a days wages for being out of time in Kent.
      People need to remember we deliver everything and I mean EVERYTHING except babies.

    Leave a Reply

    Join the conversation

    Please read our comment moderation policy here.