Government to establish internal border in Kent as part of Brexit plans

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The Department for Transport (DfT) has confirmed that all heavy goods vehicles (HGV) using the Short Straits channel crossings will need a permit to enter Kent from the start of next year.

The digital Kent Access Permit (KAP) is part of a series of measures in an attempt to ‘minimise the risk of disruption’ from a no deal Brexit and keep logistics moving between the EU and the UK at the end of the transition period from January 1, 2021.

The DFT said following consultation with industry, legislation to enable the enforcement of Operation Brock – the traffic management strategy in Kent – has been brought forward to ensure the plans can be implemented if needed.

The ‘Check an HGV’ service that will be used to register for a KAP "will be fully operational by December 2020" and those without a permit will face a £300 fine.

It means an extremley short turnaround between when the KAP goes live and when it will be introduced.

The DfT said the Check an HGV service will also be able to check that an HGV has the right EU import and commodities documents for the goods it’s carrying before it crosses the GB/EU border.

The news comes as the Government this week launches an information campaign preparing hauliers for the new customs procedures.

The DfT has launched a radio, press and digital advertising campaign to raise awareness of the upcoming changes and have the correct documentation.

Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps said: “New opportunities mean new ways of doing things, and it’s sensible that we plan for all scenarios including the risk of short-term disruption to our busiest trade routes.

“By putting in place these plans we’re ensuring Kent keeps moving, our fantastic haulage industry is supported, and trade continues to flow as we embark on our future as a fully independent state.”

Alongside this, a haulier handbook will be made available in 14 different languages providing them with information and advice.

In November, hauliers will also be able to visit one of 45 ‘Information and Advice Sites’ at “key strategic locations” across the UK, offering in-person assistance on how to apply for the documents needed to keep them travelling to, from and through the EU.

Hauliers will be able to use this service to check that an HGV has the right EU import and commodities documents for the goods it’s carrying before it crosses the GB / EU border.

As part of the campaign, hauliers are also being encouraged by the DfT to apply for an European Conference of Ministers of Transport (ECMT) permit as a precautionary measure.

Following the end of the transition period, ECMT permits may be needed to support hauliers accessing the EU.

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