The government has signed a £200,000-a-year contract with a disaster response charity in response to growing queues at the English Channel.
Huge lorry queues on the roads around Dover hit the headlines last year after the snaking congestion grew so bad it could be seen from space.
Drivers expressed fury at the delays, describing the situation as “absolute carnage” and blaming a cocktail of delays to Brexit checks and cumbersome paperwork.
Port chiefs have urged the UK government to hold talks with the EU about easing further checks amid fears they could have a “disastrous” impact on trade.
But the government appears to have come up with a different solution.
The Department for Transport has enlisted RE:ACT, which uses military veterans to distribute humanitarian aid in war zones and following natural disasters, amid concerns over driver welfare.
The year-long contract, which started in November, means that food and water will be supplied to queues of vehicles on approach roads to Dover and the Channel tunnel if drivers are at a standstill for two days.
The DfT summary says the welfare plan was needed because of “regular disruptions” to the road network in the area during previous national events which had severely overstretched local responses.
The plan applies to unscheduled waits of longer than two days suggesting that the government anticipates lorry drivers being forced again this year to queue on the M20 for more than 48 hours at a stretch.
“Failure to deliver a Brexit that works”
Commenting on the news, Nick Smith, the Labour MP for Blaenau Gwent, said: “The government’s incompetence around the border has resulted in them having to bring in companies more used to providing humanitarian support for people in war zones and in the aftermath of natural disasters.
“That the government has turned to them shows the scale of the chaos unleashed by their failure to deliver a Brexit that works.”
A government spokesperson said: “Driver welfare is our priority and it’s only right we have robust emergency support in place in case of unprecedented issues at the border.
“There are currently no known congestion issues, and we continue to work across government and with our partners, including the French government, to ensure passengers have the smoothest journey possible.”