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International hauliers are being “strongly encouraged” by the DfT to ensure their HGV drivers are tested for Covid-19 before travelling to France, warning that those drivers arriving in Kent without a test will face delays.

The DfT is also offering to help hauliers set up their own testing facilities with lateral flow test kits provided by The Department of Health and Social Care free of charge, along with free training.

The move follows the decision by the French government last month to require HGV drivers arriving from the UK to have tested negative within 72 hours of arriving in France.

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In a letter to hauliers this week, Ben Rimmington, DfT co-director of road safety, standards and services, revealed plans for a two-tier system offering a “fast track” for HGV drivers arriving in Kent with proof of a negative Covid test and a slow lane for those drivers who arrive without a test.

Rimmington states: “We will continue to provide testing facilities for hauliers who do not get tests before reaching Kent, but those drivers will face longer delays than they otherwise would and we are considering the introduction of charging for those tests – to provide a further incentive to arrive ‘Covid test-ready’.”

He adds: “I would therefore strongly encourage all those engaged in international haulage to make arrangements for testing of drivers before they set off on journeys to or through France.

“The Department of Health and Social Care are also ready to support any business that wishes to set up its own testing facility.”