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More travel firms will go bust in the ‘coming weeks’ due to impact of Covid pandemic

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more travel firms will go bust in the coming weeks due to impact of covid pandemic

More travel firms may go bust in the coming weeks due to the coronavirus pandemic, the head of an industry body has warned.   

Abta chief executive Mark Tanzer accused the Government of failing to provide ‘basic tools’ to help consumer confidence as he expressed fears that the list of firms unable to survive will grow.

He said at least 20 travel companies with UK operations have collapsed since March.

‘The summer was pretty much a washout and winter is not looking great,’ he said.

‘As the furlough scheme comes to an end – unless there is a replacement for that – the pressure on companies is going to increase.

‘I am concerned that we may see some more failures over the coming weeks, which is tragic.’

Travel firms which have fallen into administration since the coronavirus outbreak include STA Travel, Specialist Leisure Group, which ran brands such as coach operator Shearings, and Cruise & Maritime Voyages.

Heathrow's passenger numbers were down 81 per cent year-on-year in September, figures published by the airport show

Heathrow’s passenger numbers were down 81 per cent year-on-year in September, figures published by the airport show

Heartbreaking: Travel agent Kate Harris who has run her own award-winning business, Inspired Travel, for 20 years says the Covid crisis has seen her applying for jobs to stack shelves as bookings have dried up

Heartbreaking: Travel agent Kate Harris who has run her own award-winning business, Inspired Travel, for 20 years says the Covid crisis has seen her applying for jobs to stack shelves as bookings have dried up

It comes as it was revealed on Monday that passenger numbers at Heathrow were down 82 per cent last month, compared to the previous September, as the airport’s chief executive issued fresh calls for a new ‘test and release’ programme.

And last month, Leceistershire travel agent Kate Harris went viral after she broke down in tears during an interview with Travel Weekly about applying for jobs to stack supermarket shelves – as the business she’s built up over 20 years teeters on the brink of closing. 

Speaking to Travel Weekly Editor-in-chief Lucy Huxley for a webcast about the way the travel industry has been devastated by the pandemic, the single mother-of-one fought back tears as she revealed how, even with the help of the furlough scheme, she’s only taken £120 in the last month, and still has to pay her one employee £500.  

Heathrow said long-haul business travel continues to be restricted by international border closures and 'a lack of testing' for Covid-19. Pictured is the airport's Terminal 5

Heathrow said long-haul business travel continues to be restricted by international border closures and ‘a lack of testing’ for Covid-19. Pictured is the airport’s Terminal 5

Getting emotional, she told Huxley in the ‘heartbreaking’ interview that she already owed £10,000 and is behind on the company’s corporation tax and VAT bills.

She said she’d been left wondering whether all the sacrifices she’s made along the way, including years when she says she was a ‘drive-by mother’, to run her own business have been worth it. 

John Holland-Kaye has urged ministers to roll out a system allowing travellers to leave quarantine after just five days, rather than the current two-week period, insisting such a move would kick-start the economy and help save millions of jobs.

Figures show just 1.2 million people travelled through the west London airport last month, compared with 6.8 million in September 2019. 

The data also revealed that more than half of those passengers were flying to or from the European Union. 

Heathrow said long-haul business travel continues to be restricted by international border closures and ‘a lack of testing’ for Covid-19.

And the lack of long-haul flights led to cargo volumes, normally carried in the hold of passenger planes, falling by 28.2 per cent compared to September last year.

Last week, the Government unveiled a task force to develop a coronavirus testing system as a potential way of easing quarantine restrictions for arriving passengers, but Mr Holland-Kaye today called for measures to be taken further. 

He said: ‘The Government’s Global Travel Taskforce is a great step forward, but needs to act quickly to save the millions of UK jobs that rely on aviation.

‘Implementing ‘test and release’ after five days of quarantine would kick-start the economy.

‘But the Government could show real leadership by working with the US to develop a common international standard for pre-departure testing that would mean that only Covid-free passengers are allowed to travel from high-risk countries.’ 

Speaking in a webcast with Travel Weekly, she told Editor-in-chief Lucy Huxley, pictured top left, that she doesn't know what she'd do if she lost her shop - and wonders whether all the sacrifices she's made along the way are now worth it

Speaking in a webcast with Travel Weekly, she told Editor-in-chief Lucy Huxley, pictured top left, that she doesn’t know what she’d do if she lost her shop – and wonders whether all the sacrifices she’s made along the way are now worth it

Last week, it was revealed that Manchester, Stansted and East Midlands airports plan to axe 900 jobs as the fall out from coronavirus continues to batter the travel industry.

Manchester Airports Group (MAG) – which owns the hubs – said it is having to take action because there simply isn’t the demand for travel.

It added the lack of progress on testing had discouraged people from travelling because the prospect of a two-week quarantine was not practical.

Earlier this summer, Gatwick bosses admitted they fear demand for flying won’t return to pre-pandemic levels until 2025.

Passenger numbers at the West Sussex airport fell by two-thirds in the first half of the year compared with 2019, plummeting from 22.2 million to 7.5 million, it was announced at the end of August.

The industry was crippled earlier this year as non-essential travel was banned during the peak of the Covid crisis.  

Surge in passengers for July but numbers down a tenth on last year

The number of passengers flying into UK airports surged to 1.3million people in July – compared to just 200,000 arriving in each month during April, May and June.

But the surge in arrivals last month is just a tenth of the number who flew into Britain during July last year.

Figures released by the Home Office earlier this summer made dim reading for the struggling aviation industry.

After Gatwick announced it was cutting up to 600 jobs, the passenger numbers show the number of arrivals compared to July 2019 is down by 89 per cent.

Around 11.1million people flew into the UK’s airports last July, compared to 1.3million arrivals this month.

Heathrow Airport was one of the hardest hit, just 867,000 people travelled through the West London airport in July, compared with 7.7million at the same time last year.

It had been hoped the summer holidays would provide a boost for the struggling industry, but quarantine measures have curbed holidays. 

Gatwick Airport is operating at around 20 per cent of its capacity and has around 75 per cent of its staff on furlough.  

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Just 200,000 people flew into UK airports each month during April, May and June as thousands had to cancel holidays and remain at home in lockdown.

The opening of ‘air bridges’ to dozens of countries around the world in recent weeks then saw air traffic increase six-fold in July, though the 1.3 million arrivals represents just a tenth of the number who flew into Britain 12 months previously. 

Abta commissioned a survey of 2,000 consumers which indicated only 15 per cent of people took a foreign holiday between February and July.

More than nine out of 10 respondents (93 per cent) were concerned about potential last-minute changes to travel advice issued by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.

Speaking at Abta’s annual convention, which was held remotely due to the pandemic, Mr Tanzer acknowledged that the Government faces ‘a difficult balancing act’ of trying to limit the spread of the virus while ‘keeping the economy moving’.

But he expressed frustration that more has not been done to help the travel industry.

‘We’re more than six months into this crisis now, and the basic tools that would help build customer confidence to travel are still missing,’ he claimed.

‘We must now move away from the blanket Foreign Office advice and have a regionalised, targeted approach to both Foreign Office advice and quarantine.’

He added: ‘The virus does not travel on a passport so adopting a whole country approach to health measures makes no sense at all.’

People arriving in the UK from overseas are required to self-isolate for 14 days, unless they have travelled from a location with a so-called travel corridor.

But most recently, weekly updates have left the list of exempt locations smaller.

A policy of treating islands separately from their mainland countries was launched last month.

Mr Tanzer said travel corridors ‘may exist in theory, but if you actually look at where we can go, there are very few places’.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps insisted that the importance of the travel and tourism sectors is ‘appreciated and understood by everyone in Government’.

He told the convention: ‘It’s precisely because the travel industry is so important that we’ve supported it with unprecedented measures across the British economy.

‘The furlough scheme… paid up to 80 per cent of employees’ wages, with more than 55,000 staff benefiting within aviation alone.’

He went on: ‘We’ve been working flat out all summer to try to revive tourism and travel.

‘We created those travel corridors, to give families the chance to enjoy a holiday after those months of lockdown.

‘But from the very start, we’ve had to be cautious because as we know, new Covid spikes risk wider restrictions down the line and ultimately, even more pain for travel firms.’

How Covid has crushed 2020 travel plans – leaving many holiday companies facing a bleak winter… 

By Jo Tweedy

The travel industry has faced plenty of adversity before 2020, with terrorism, economic downturns and the previous threat of pandemics – including the 2003 SARS outbreak – all impacting travel agents and tour operators in the past.

However, most would agree that the 2020 coronavirus pandemic is the biggest single blow ever dealt to the industry… with quarantine, a fear of the virus spreading on planes and in airports, and the promise of a second wave this winter already proving the death knell for some smaller operators. 

In the UK, while the summer saw a chance for the staycation market to bounce back from the wiped-out Easter and May holidays, Boris Johnson’s rule of six – and the likelihood of even tougher restrictions coming soon – has ensured that many British hotels and self-catering properties are preparing for huge losses over the winter. 

The travel industry faces its toughest ever winter, with the threat of a second wave likely to further deter people from booking holidays

The travel industry faces its toughest ever winter, with the threat of a second wave likely to further deter people from booking holidays 

For companies who rely on overseas operations, including airlines, the picture looks even bleaker, with countries on the ‘travel corridor’ list changing frequently, meaning there’s little certainty for holidaymakers who might ordinarily break for the sun.  

This week, the general secretary of the TSSA trade union, Manuel Cortes, made an impassioned plea for the Government to do more to save the beleaguered holiday industry, with an upturn in fortunes now looking increasingly unlikely until at least Spring 2021. 

He told this year’s Institute of Travel and Tourism virtual conference: ‘I am saying that no stone should be left unturned to support our industry. At the moment we are seeing nothing really [from government].

‘Whenever this virus is conquered we will all need a well-deserved holiday and sadly if the government doesn’t take measures to preserve our industry we will not have an industry.

‘In the short term, the industry cannot compete. What we need is the government to step in and hold the industry’s hand so we can emerge stronger than before.

‘It has done so in the past for the banking sector, why can’t it do the same for the travel trade?’ 

UK TRAVEL CORRIDORS: WHERE CAN YOU CURRENTLY HOLIDAY WITHOUT QUARANTINE?  

Anguilla

Antigua and Barbuda

Australia

The Azores

Barbados

Bermuda

Bonaire, St Eustatius and Saba 

British Indian Ocean Territory

British Virgin Islands

Brunei

Cayman Islands

The Channel Islands

Cuba

Cyprus

Dominica

Estonia 

Faroe Islands

Fiji

Finland

Gibraltar

Germany

Greece (except the islands of Crete, Lesvos, Mykonos, Santorini, Serifos, Tinos and Zakynthos – if you arrive in England from any of these islands you will need to self-isolate)

Greenland

Grenada

Hong Kong

Northern Ireland

The Isle of Man 

 

 

Japan

Italy 

Latvia

Liechtenstein

Lithuania

Macao (Macau)

Madeira

Malaysia

Mauritius

Montserrat 

New Zealand

Norway 

Poland

San Marino

Seychelles

Singapore (if you arrived in England from Singapore before 4am 19 September 2020 you will need to self-isolate)

South Korea 

St Kitts and Nevis

St Lucia 

St Vincent and the Grenadines

Sweden

Taiwan

Thailand (if you arrived in England from Thailand before 4am 19 September 2020 you will need to self-isolate)

Turkey

Vatican City

Vietnam

Information correct on 30/9/20

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Woman seeks ‘hero’ Ryanair passenger who paid her £50 luggage charge 

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woman seeks hero ryanair passenger who paid her 50 luggage charge

A mother says she is desperate to track down the Good Samaritan who stepped in to pay her oversized luggage charge after staff ruled her bag was too big for the cabin.

The ‘hero’ was filmed footing the £50 bill for the ‘distressed’ passenger by a fellow flyer as travellers were attempting to board a flight from Ibiza to Stansted. 

Stephanie, who only wanted to use her first name, told MailOnline how she has tried to get in touch with the man who helped but was told he wanted to remain anonymous.

The mother-of-three, who lives on the Spanish island but had made a short trip back to see family in the UK earlier this week, said she was initially told by airport staff there was no need to check in the bag, only to later be told it was too big and that she had to pay a charge.

‘The plane was half-full so I couldn’t understand why they couldn’t take my bag or put it in the hold,’ she said.

‘I was told I had to pay on card but I only had cash with me, so paying it was impossible. I don’t travel a lot and it’s been a long time since I’ve been on the plane, plus with everything that’s going on, you can see on the video that I’m quite anxious.

‘This kind man turned around and said he would pay for me – it was an amazing act of kindness that he really didn’t need to do. He literally came out of nowhere, it was a crazy experience.

‘If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t have been able to take my kids away for the weekend. Once we got on the plane he was a few rows back from me and I wanted to go over and give him a hug, but because of Covid I couldn’t.’

Stephanie, who has twins aged nine and another one-year-old, revealed she has been in touch with the passenger who filmed the incident to try and track down her Good Samaritan, but to no avail thus far.

She said: ‘Apparently he wants to remain anonymous. I just want to have a chat with him because I don’t think he realises how nice a gesture it was and how much it meant to me.’  

In the video, the young man who paid the bill can be seen checking his phone near the boarding gate.

A Ryanair passenger stepped in to pay the 'ridiculous' baggage fee for a stressed out mother at Ibiza Airport

The 'hero' was filmed footing the £50 bill for the 'distressed' mother-of-three, after staff deemed her bag too big to be carried on board

A Ryanair passenger stepped in to pay the ‘ridiculous’ baggage fee for a stressed out mother at Ibiza Airport. The ‘hero’ was filmed footing the £50 bill for the ‘distressed’ mother-of-three, after staff deemed her bag too big to be carried on board

The camera pans to reveal the stressed mother, whose two children are chasing each other.

The clearly overwhelmed mother puts her hands to her head and begins anxiously raking them through her hair.

Seeing her distress, the kind-hearted stranger turns around and reassures her, saying: ‘It’s alright, it’s alright.’

The exasperated mother looks at him gratefully, burying her face in her hands again as he tries to soothe her.

As she starts to cry, the man says to her: ‘Don’t worry I’ll pay for you.’

The good Samaritan then approaches the desk and willingly hands over his card for payment.

As it processes, a man asks if Ryanair has recently changed their baggage allowance sizing.

The older of the mum’s two children tries to calm his brother, saying: ‘No no mama is upset’ as the mum tries to compose herself. 

The touching moment was posted on Twitter by a fellow passenger

The touching moment was posted on Twitter by a fellow passenger

In the video, the young man who paid the bill can be seen checking his phone near the boarding gate. The camera pans to reveal the stressed mother, whose two children are chasing each other

In the video, the young man who paid the bill can be seen checking his phone near the boarding gate. The camera pans to reveal the stressed mother, whose two children are chasing each other

The clip ends with the generous stranger waiting for his payment to complete.

The touching moment was posted on Twitter by a fellow passenger, who shared the video and said: ‘Well done to this young hero for paying the ridiculous Ryanair baggage charges for a distressed mother travelling with three kids (who wasn’t getting any leniency from ground staff).

‘The flight from Ibiza to Stansted was half empty, not sure what difference a few cm would make.’

Ryanair’s cabin baggage rules stipulate that luggage must fit under the seat in front and can be no bigger than 40x20x25cm. 

Oversized baggage is placed in the hold of the plane for a fee of £50.  

The video, which has since been viewed hundred of thousands of times, has earned the gentleman heaps of praise.

One wrote: ‘What a legend! Karma will see him good.’

Another added: ‘There’s hope for humanity.’

A third wrote: ‘Well done young man.’

Seeing her distress, the kind-hearted stranger turns around and reassures her, saying: 'It's alright, it's alright' before paying the charge for her

Seeing her distress, the kind-hearted stranger turns around and reassures her, saying: ‘It’s alright, it’s alright’ before paying the charge for her

The passenger later added: ‘Great kid isn’t he? No idea who he is though, kept himself to himself and acted honourably and discreetly without a fuss.’

Speaking today, the 46-year-old traveller who filmed the moment said: ‘As far as I could tell, the mother with her children had got caught out with a bag that exceeded the allowance on her ticket.

‘She was upset and rather tearful while also trying to keep an eye on her kids.

‘By the time I figured out what was going on, a young man stepped up to the ground handling staff and was heard to say ‘it’s okay, I’ll pay’.

‘The man preferred to remain anonymous.’

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Olympian Allyson Felix Breaks Usain Bolt’s Record—10 Months After Emergency C-Section

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Brexit: Photos show 27-acre Kent field being turned into lorry park

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brexit photos show 27 acre kent field being turned into lorry park

Drone photos show a vast 27-acre Kent field dubbed ‘Farage’s Garage’ being turned into a lorry park for up to 2,000 trucks in case of mass hold-ups at Dover before the Brexit transition period ends this year.  

The development, next to Junction 10a in Ashford, Kent, is being constructed by the Government as it prepares for the negotiation period with the European Union to conclude in December.

Upon completion, the vast site will be used for HMRC customs checks, with an area available as a holding space for up to 2,000 trucks should delays arise for vehicles crossing the Channel. 

However, it is hoped vehicles will not need to be stored on the land and will be a ‘customs checking site’ by July. 

Some 29 lorry parks are expected to be built across England in order to cope with potential post-Brexit border trading chaos as hopes of a UK-EU free trade deal are repeatedly dashed. 

Locals will not have a say in the construction of the sites which are being built in Leicestershire, Warwickshire, Solihull, Kent, Essex, Yorkshire and Lincolnshire.  

The sites have been planned because of fears that truck drivers will face long delays to enter the EU.  

A view of the area near Sevington in Ashford, Kent, where the Government is developing the 27-acre site near the town

A view of the area near Sevington in Ashford, Kent, where the Government is developing the 27-acre site near the town

Drone photos show a vast 27-acre Kent field dubbed 'Farage's Garage' being turned into a lorry park for up to 2,000 trucks

Drone photos show a vast 27-acre Kent field dubbed ‘Farage’s Garage’ being turned into a lorry park for up to 2,000 trucks

Upon completion, the site will be used for HMRC customs checks, with an area available as a holding space for 1,700 lorries

Upon completion, the site will be used for HMRC customs checks, with an area available as a holding space for 1,700 lorries

Locals will not have a say in the construction of the sites which are being built in Leicestershire, Warwickshire, Solihull, Kent, Essex, Yorkshire and Lincolnshire (pictured, aerial view of the site near Sevington in Ashford, Kent)

Locals will not have a say in the construction of the sites which are being built in Leicestershire, Warwickshire, Solihull, Kent, Essex, Yorkshire and Lincolnshire (pictured, aerial view of the site near Sevington in Ashford, Kent)

A view of the area near Sevington in Ashford, Kent, where the Government is developing the 27-acre site near the town

A view of the area near Sevington in Ashford, Kent, where the Government is developing the 27-acre site near the town

A petition and online campaign are currently calling for the facility in Kent to be named after Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage, with some suggesting it be named 'Nigel's Folly' while others recommend 'Farage's Garage'

A petition and online campaign are currently calling for the facility in Kent to be named after Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage, with some suggesting it be named ‘Nigel’s Folly’ while others recommend ‘Farage’s Garage’

A petition and online campaign are currently calling for the facility in Kent to be named after Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage, with some suggesting it be named ‘Nigel’s Folly’ while others recommend ‘Farage’s Garage’. 

French minister threatens to veto Brexit trade deal if it does not protect ‘our interests’ and claims Britain is BLUFFING about being ready to walk away without an agreement as talks resume in London 

A senior French minister warned that the EU would not accept a trade deal if it did  not protect ‘our interests’ – and claimed the UK was bluffing about walking away from talks. 

French Europe Minister Clement Beaune said that all bets were off if Britain had ‘not shown sufficient movement’ amid a continuing stand-off over fishing rights in British waters.

The issue has emerged as the last remaining real stumbling block to a deal being complete before the end of the transition period on December 31. 

Post-Brexit trade talks between the UK and European Union will continue in London on Friday as Michel Barnier said both sides have a ‘common responsibility’ to strike a deal.

The European Union’s chief negotiator continued discussions with his UK counterpart Lord Frost as the deadline for an agreement looms.

Speaking to French Television, Mr Beaune said: ‘We thought the end of October was the final deadline. We are giving ourselves a few more days to give the negotiations a chance, but we need to know quickly.

‘Michel Barnier has several days ahead of him where he is going to negotiate and then he will talk to us.

He is going to tell the head of state and government of the EU27: ‘Here is a deal, and I think it is a good one’ – and then we have to evaluate it. Or: ‘I think the British have not shown sufficient movement to reach an agreement that protects our interests and then it’s no deal.’ 

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The Change.org petition, which has received thousands of signatures, says that ‘everyone should genuinely be able to refer to this diesel soaked Valhalla as Nigel’s Folly’, adding: ‘It may be that Mr Farage will be unable or unwilling to attend the unveiling of this great honour that we do him, but that shouldn’t get in the way of seeing his name gurn plastered all over the boundary fence at regular intervals.’ 

While it is not clear if construction of any other sites has begun, an existing carpark in Gravesend, which has been used as a coronavirus testing facility, is set to be turned into a customs check point.  

There are fears the UK could leave the EU without a free trade deal following the Brexit transition period, which could cause significant delays in vehicles crossing the border.  

It was previously claimed that a failure to strike a Brexit deal by Boris Johnson’s October deadline could mean up to 7,000 lorries would be forced to queue up ahead of crossing the Channel.   

It emerged in July that the Department for Transport was looking to purchase the land in preparation for any potential trade disruptions as a result of Brexit.  

Transport Minister Rachel Maclean later confirmed the move, adding there were ‘two primary uses’ for the land. 

She said: ‘First, government departments envisage using it as a permanent site for facilities related to future border processes, notably HMRC (as an office of departure/arrival for goods moved under ‘transit’ arrangements) and Defra (as a border control post for goods needing sanitary and phytosanitary checks).

‘Second, the site may also be used as a contingency lorry holding area for the particular, foreseeable risk of significant disruption at the end of the transition period.’ 

Ms Maclean added Downing Street had ‘no intention’ the site would become a permanent lorry holding facility for use in the event of ‘cross-Channel disruption’. 

The photos have appeared amid news that toilets and food and drink facilities for haulage drivers will line the M20 in Kent in preparation for the 7,000 lorries predicted to be stuck in static traffic on January 1.  

With two-day-long queues expected to halt the industry when the EU implement full import controls on the UK at the start of next year, industry executives have demanded that provisions be made for the welfare of drivers.

Richard Burnett, Chief Executive of the Road Haulage Association, who will be meeting with Michael Gove, the Minister for the Cabinet Office, on Friday said: ‘The devil is in the detail, we need to understand, will there be Portaloos down the M20? Will we be able to get water and food to drivers?  

‘We want that clarity out of Friday’s meeting to make sure that level of detail is being considered.’ 

The development, next to Junction 10a in Ashford, Kent, is being constructed by the Government as it prepares for the negotiation period with the European Union to conclude in December

The development, next to Junction 10a in Ashford, Kent, is being constructed by the Government as it prepares for the negotiation period with the European Union to conclude in December

Locals will not have a say in the construction of the sites which are being built in Leicestershire, Warwickshire, Solihull, Kent, Essex, Yorkshire and Lincolnshire (pictured, aerial view of the site near Sevington in Ashford, Kent)

Locals will not have a say in the construction of the sites which are being built in Leicestershire, Warwickshire, Solihull, Kent, Essex, Yorkshire and Lincolnshire (pictured, aerial view of the site near Sevington in Ashford, Kent)

A view of the area near Sevington in Ashford, Kent, where the Government is developing the 27-acre site near the town

A view of the area near Sevington in Ashford, Kent, where the Government is developing the 27-acre site near the town

Discussing the number of trucks expected to be held on their way to UK ports Mr Burnett said: ‘There’s going to be 2,000 trucks on the M20, 2,000 trucks on Mojo in Ashford, another site, and potentially 4,000 in Manston.’ 

Richard Ballantyne, CEO of British Ports Association, said that the ‘risk’ of queues at ports following January 1 ‘doesn’t have to be realised if the government takes a pragmatic approach’.

He added: ‘We are waiting for clarity of what support [facilities] drivers will have who are in these queues. This is not just about Kent, it’s facilities across the country.

‘What are those facilities and infrastructure going to be for drivers who are stuck in queues across the country – something we will touch on Friday.’

Speaking in a committee on Brexit preparedness in the transport sector Rachel Maclean MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department for Transport said: ‘It is absolutely vital we consider the welfare of drivers and hauliers as these are hardworking people, we rely on the haulage industry for a supply of critical goods and we must consider their welfare. 

‘We have detailed plans for provision of not only portaloos but other facilities for drivers, not only in Kent if there is stationary traffic, but other places in the country.’

Maclean said: ‘We are working in a lot of detail with the Kent Resilience Forum. We will be drawing on a combination of temporary lorry holding at A20 Dover TAP [Traffic Assessment Project] site, M20 between junction 8 and 9 and off-road sites and also we are procuring some temporary lorry holding capacity at Ashford, Sevington, the wider plan will feed all of that into using those sites if it becomes necessary if Operation Brock is active.’

The committee also raised the issue of the severe limits expected to face UK hauliers if bilateral agreements with EU member states are not made, or delayed, in the case of a no deal. 

Toilets will line the M20 as part of 'Operation Brock'

Toilets will line the M20 as part of ‘Operation Brock’

Industry leaders warned that up to 39,000 UK haulage trucks could be rendered unusable after January 1 due to the limited number of ECMT permits allowed. 

Only 1 in 4 UK haulage companies (or 2,000 of the 8,000 UK haulage companies) will qualify for an ECMT permit.  

Elizabeth de Jong, Director of Policy at Logistics UK said: ‘There is a planned glide path to reciprocal arrangements – some reassurance that there won’t be a sudden market failure in this area.’

‘The ECMT permit system gives very little reassurance so it’s really important bilateral agreements are made. As only [2,000 of 8,000 UK hauliers] 1 in 4 UK hauliers could get a permit and they could only do one journey at a time with this permit.’

If bilateral agreements are not put in place the limits on ECMT permits could see UK facing a risk to it’s supply chain, said Mr Burnett.  

He added: ‘From my perspective ECMT is not a solution if we don’t get the right deal. It’s also fair to say bilateral arrangements are going to take some time to negotiate with each member states.

‘This equates to around 39,000 trucks, a significant gap for EU hauliers to access Europe in the event of ECMT.’

During the committee all three industry representatives suggested they had not been provided with enough ‘clarity’ to properly prepare for January 1. 

Mr Burnett of the Road Haulage Association said: ‘At this stage there is evidence that business are not prepared. 

‘The haulage industry works with its customers to make sure they are prepared and in a poll last week 91 per cent felt they didn’t have the clarity needed to be able to prepare.

‘It is happening too slowly at this moment in time.’

What is a ECMT permit? 

The permit, European Conference of Ministers of Transport (ECMT), allows travel through the European Union (minus Cyprus) and to the countries of Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, North Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Russia, Serbia, Turkey, and Ukraine. 

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‘At the moment we are seeing more and more EU hauliers holding back, suggesting they may not even trade or come to the UK from January 1 depending on the potential chaos, in terms of business processes, backload availability and queues, but that’s going to be a growing challenge for the market.

‘If we don’t strike the right deal with the right access it may be a risk to our own supply chain. Through the Covid pandemic for instance, when we had a shortage of drivers in Italy and Spain we had to send UK vehicles to pick up more volume and bring it back, if we don’t have the right deal this could be a risk to our supply chain if EU hauliers do stand and decide not to come.’ 

Mr Burner called a meeting held with Mr Gove a ‘wash out’ after it ‘broke down’ with 40 people on the round table raising ‘personal issues’ 

While it is hoped new ‘offices of departure’ across the country which will be used to process and stamp paper work will stop traffic from ‘funnelling into Kent’, Mr Ballantyne added ‘there may be queues there too.’ 

He said that he expects traffic to peak at Dover and the Euro Tunnel, in Folkestone. 

Mr Ballantyne said that he supported the Government’s new boarder crossing IT system, GVMS, ‘in principle’ but said that the 54 days left to implement it was a ‘very short time scales to get the industry used to it’. 

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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