BRC responds to closure of French border
The British Retail Consortium has called on the government to work with the EU to find a solution to the ban on UK freight entering France to avoid disruption to imported food supplies.
Following the emergence of a new, more infectious variant of Covid-19 in the UK, the French government announced last night that it would be banning freight and travel from the UK for 48 hours.
Around 10,000 lorries a day travel through the ports of Dover and Calais in busy periods like Christmas. The move is expected to cause significant disruption at ports in the south east of England.
In a statement, Andrew Opie, director of food & sustainability at the British Retail Consortium, said: “The closure of France to UK traffic, including accompanied freight poses difficulties for UK capacity to import and export key goods during the busy Christmas period. While goods can enter from France, few haulage firms will be willing to send trucks and drivers across to the UK without a guarantee they can return to the EU in a timely manner. This is a key supply route for fresh produce at this time of year: the channel crossings see 10,000 trucks passing daily during peak periods such as in the run up to Christmas.
“We urge the UK Government and the EU to find a pragmatic solution to this as soon as possible, to prevent disruption for consumers. Retailers have stocked up on goods ahead of Christmas which should prevent immediate problems. However, any prolonged closure of the French border would be a problem as the UK enters the final weeks before the transition ends on 31st December.”
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