Emergency traffic measures used to manage traffic congestion at the port in Dover have been used as many times in the last month as they were in the first half of last year altogether after new Brexit checks were introduced at the border.
A system made to prevent lorry queues stretching towards the town centre and blocking it has been enforced 18 times since the beginning of this year – but not at all in January 2021 – according to National Highways data presented by Sky News. This has caused lorry queues of up to six miles.
In January 2020, the Dover Traffic Access Protocol (TAP) was used seven times, in January 2018 nine times, in January 2017 eight times and in 2016 nine times.
In the whole of last year, the system was used 69 times, with almost half of those occasions being in the last two months of 2021.
‘It’s not Brexit’, government insisted
When the TAP is in force, lorries have to travel at a speed limit of 40mph and only on the inside lane of the A20 in order to ease normal traffic inside the town.
Last month, Baroness Vere said on behalf of the government that the Dover queues were caused by vessels needing maintenance, and not by Brexit bureaucracy, but all three DFDS ferries have reportedly returned to service.
Post-Brexit, exporters have to make customs declarations before travelling – whereas before they had a 60-day period after the shipments were made, in which they could fill in all the paperwork.
Rod McKenzie, Road Haulage Association spokesperson, said: “It’s clear there are teething problems with the new border systems that came in.
“The test will be if these queues and other issues subside as traders get used to the red tape.
‘Saving Boris Johnson’s skin’?
Meanwhile, the government is set to push forward a “Brexit Freedoms Bill”, which will remove all unwanted “retained law” using subtle backstage regulations, rather than allowing full parliamentary scrutiny.
The move, which coincides with the two year anniversary of Britain’s divorce from Brussels, has sparked warnings of further pain for farmers and businesses already struggling after Brexit.
Treasury minister Simon Clarke told LBC on Monday that Brexit allowed Britain to “get rid of a load of red tape”, labelling the UK’s exit from the EU a “big success already”.
And prime minister Boris Johnson claimed the Tories want to “cut back on EU red tape” this year.
Naomi Smith, who leads pro-EU campaign group Best for Britain, said: “In a barely concealed attempt to save his own skin, the prime minister is proposing scrapping standards in the UK with minimal scrutiny and no consideration of the consequences.”
All EU law was converted into UK law and given supremacy over pre-Brexit UK law to ensure the continuity of the legal system.