Lorries carrying urgent aid to Ukraine are being held up at Dover because of Brexit-related border checks, it has been revealed.
Charity workers say that five tonnes of donations are still in the UK because of confusion over paperwork.
Some say they have even given up efforts to get much-needed supplies to the country.
Agnieszka Lokaj, who runs the Lewisham Polish Centre in south London, told the PoliticsHome website that despite mounting donations, “we are not exporting”.
“I don’t want to send drivers to the border where they will be stuck for several days. It doesn’t make sense to spend so much time and money dealing with the bureaucracy,” she said.
Britain’s exit from the EU single market and customs union caused a dramatic rise in bureaucracy for imports and exports between Britain and the EU.
The red tape is now making it harder to send supplies to help in the wake of the Russian invasion, where the UN says need is “growing at an alarming pace”.
According to the UN’s humanitarian assistance office as of Monday there are now 12 million people in need in the country and a $1 billion (£760 million) shortfall in funding.
Last month lorry queues of up to six miles (10km) into the port of Dover we’re recorded by Highways England – from the Roundhill Tunnel to the Western Heights Roundabout
HMRC, which oversees customs and other regulatory checks on goods crossing the border, recommended that people donate to the UN’s Disasters Emergency Committee as the best way of helping the country.
A Government spokesperson said: “People and businesses across the UK have already responded with immense generosity, donating millions of pounds to support those forced to flee their homes as a result of the war in Ukraine.
“However, we appreciate that people and businesses may still wish to donate aid directly to the region and we are exploring further ways to support this. Anyone requiring advice can contact the free-to-use Export Support Service (ESS)”.
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