The government will set up temporary portaloos in Kent for drivers waiting in lorry queues, after the UK leaves the EU’s customs union on 31 December.
The Cabinet Office has predicted as a worst case scenario that 7,000-long lorry queues could form in Kent if businesses are not prepared for changes at the UK’s ports next year.
Speaking to the Transport Select Committee this morning, minister Rachel Maclean said the temporary loos were one of a number of facilities being put in place for drivers’ welfare in case of customs chaos next year.
“It’s absolutely vital that we consider the welfare of our drivers and hauliers”, she said.
“We have made detailed plans for the provision of not only portaloos but other facilities for drivers should it become necessary”.
She said these would be installed not only in Kent, but at other key trade entry points around the country in order to “minimise” the impact on drivers.
The portaloos will be installed alongside other sites designed to ease the amount of freight traffic on the roads.
These include temporary holding facilities for lorries at the A20 Dover TAP, on the M20 between junctions 8 and 9 and at Ashford Stevington.
Lorry drivers entering Kent will soon need a “special access permit”, however Cabinet Office minister Lord Theodore Agnew said yesterday that many businesses were not prepared and had their “heads in the sand”.
The comments drew a furious reaction from the from the Road Haulage Association trade body, who said the government had not provided businesses with enough information about future changes.
RHA chief executive Richard Burnett said: “Since the original vote to leave the EU was taken four years ago the RHA has been working tirelessly to establish how future processes and systems will work.
“But we are still in the dark and very little useful information has been forthcoming.
“With 11 weeks to go until the transition period ends, government are still saying ‘let’s wait and see what deal we get’ – this is creating even more confusion.”
Maclean said at the committee meeting today and that 82 per cent of UK hauliers have looked for information about customs changes and that 82 per cent of lorry companies had instructed drivers about collecting the correct documentation.