Dover is eerily quiet on the eve of Brexit, but carriers fear more chaos | Brexit

After a week of chaos, Kent’s roads are eerily deserted, and virtually devoid of freight traffic as truck drivers from all over the European Union avoid Dover and the Eurotun Tunnel Brixi The transition period ends.

The only reminder of the potential for Brexit mayhem are miles and miles of waste – plastic bottles, shopping bags, even towels – strewn along the banks of the M20 highway heading south to the slopes of Dover.

The government has plans for up to 7,000 trucks stranded Kent In the aftermath of Brexit, trade barriers rose at 11 pm on the EU side of the canal. But all the evidence indicates that importers are stockpiling them and will bypass the port as the UK’s 30-year membership in the single market suddenly ends.

Few trucks entered the Eurotunnel, and there appeared to be fewer than a few trucks heading to Dover early Thursday evening.

Eurotunnel said traffic is usually quiet around the New Year; This was exceptionally so this year because many importers rushed to bring in supplies before January 1, and thus traffic spikes halted when The French imposed a Covid travel ban on shipping Right before Christmas.

Miles and miles of trash line the Kent Roads

“I don’t think we’ll start to see things return to normal levels of traffic until the second week in January,” said Rod Mackenzie, policy director at the Road Transport Association (RHA). Even so, I think the real chaos will be an invisible mess.

“People don’t know the paperwork they have to fill in, they haven’t dealt with customs declarations before, and if they’re not filled out properly, they won’t get a Kent pass to travel to the county, so they’ll be stuck in warehouses and distribution centers across the country.”

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The Kent Pass, KAP, or “Kermit” as it has been called, is mandatory for all drivers wanting to cross the canal after 11 PM on December 31st.

So far, officials said, only about 450 of these 24-hour permits have been issued. The slow absorption was fueling fears of a possible partial repeat of the chaos before Christmas, as trucks have stopped or been told to return if they do not have a Brexit passport in the coming weeks.

Officials said drivers without a permit could be stopped by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency using automatic number plate recognition and possibly fined £ 300.

Concerns have been echoed by the RHA, with estimates suggesting that 50% or more of small and medium-sized businesses may not be ready for border checks, which could raise the possibility of chaos later in January as supply chains are forced out of hibernation. Brexit.

In Ashford, a few miles north of Dover, construction roars continue into the night at Lowry Park, a 66-acre slated to house more than 1,000 vehicles.

Hugh Twyman lives near Truck Park in Ashford. Photography: Lisa O’Connell

Many people in the region are mourning the loss of the fields and their environmental benefits.

“The landing is on the left and the valley on the right – you can walk straight into the village of Mircham.” Said Hugh Timan, who was walking his dog, Willo, in a small apartment block across from a twin road separating residents from the Truck Park, it was great to do that one evening Summer, but the government clearly has other ideas.

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Did you vote to leave the European Union? “I supported it, but we have not been informed enough about how it works by the politicians. They made the deal now and we don’t know the ins and outs of it either. Maybe I won’t vote for it now that I know all the paperwork, the travel rules change.”

Another locale in a country cottage on a former countryside lane on the vast site also felt upset and said she was hoping for compensation. “My daughter grew up looking at fields of corn,” she said. “There is only a stationary drone for the generators and it won’t stop after construction because the refrigerated trucks will run their generators overnight. The construction workers had four days off at Christmas – it was beautiful.”

On the way, John Lang and his wife, Sherilyn, believed they had bought a plot of country land for retirement when the Guardian first told them about the government takeover in July. They said that like the rest of the residents, there was no warning or advice at the Lorry Park.

They lost their 360-degree view of farmland and are now looking at a four-meter-high perimeter fence of pine wood on two sides of their home. “It’s like living in a compound, it’s horrible,” Cherylynn said.

John has voted for Brexit, saying he is optimistic about the future, but does not think it will do much for Kent, who has voted to leave the European Union. “I can’t see what’s the use for us here in you,” he said. He said the trucks were now accidentally dropping down his lane “because the zip code is the same as the truck park.” He hoped to eventually settle it.

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Stuart Wickham
Bus driver Stuart Wickham is relieved that he will not need an international driver’s license Photography: Lisa O’Connell

Stuart Wickham, a bus driver, was happy to strike a deal because it meant that International driver permit lottery He no longer threatens his livelihood.

“I just transferred the GB hockey team to Brussels and Amsterdam, and next week we found out if we were going to take them to their winter training ground in Malaga. If there was no agreement, I wouldn’t be able to do that,” he said.

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