Unite is warning of EU border delays as increased Brexit border checks kick in today (30 April) on plant and animal products arriving to the UK from the EU.

The checks will start with a “light touch” according to Defra, with medium and high-risk goods that pose the greatest biosecurity risk being prioritised and then the gradual introduction of full check rates.

However businesses and MPs have raised concerns that Defra has failed to give clear guidance on how the checks will work, with concerns they will increase import costs and create delays at the border.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “In the past, new import checks have just meant more border delays, especially at Dover. This means hundreds of HGV drivers are stuck in their cabs for hours without access to rest or toilet facilities.

”They are then put under great pressure to make up time afterwards to keep up with their demanding schedules.

“Further down the supply chain, logistics and warehouse staff are unable to fulfil their roles and face potentially detrimental impacts to their jobs.

“This cannot be allowed to happen again. Unite will be monitoring the border situation closely and holding the government, as well as employers who target their workers to mitigate any delays, to account.”

RHA has also raised concerns today, calling for border checks to be ”as efficient and seamless” as possible on imports.

It warned that additional processing time will increased cost and risk the loss of perishable and temperature-controlled items.

RHA added: ”There are also concerns aboutthe readiness of EU businesses and support infrastructure including lack of veterinary officers to carry out checks and the fact that the testing facility is at Sevington – 22 miles inland from Dover. 

”We urge that driver welfare is prioritised and that drivers have ready access to decent toilets and other facilities as required.

”Contingency arrangements away from the Inland Border Facility should be safe and secure, and make provision that truckers have access to adequate facilities.”