Hauliers heading for the Channel crossings in the event of a no-deal Brexit will face a £300 fine if they try to avoid queues by using alternative routes to those designated under Operation Brock. Hauliers without the proper paperwork needed at the border will also be turned back.

These are some of the proposals set out in a DfT consultation document sent to industry groups and local councils in the Kent area last week.

Motortransport.co.uk understands that the document looks at how to prevent disruption at the Channel ports and the Channel Tunnel in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

It raises concerns that substantial numbers of trucks headed for the Channel crossings could attempt to avoid the queues created by a no-deal Brexit by using alternative routes that would create further disruption on local roads.

To prevent this the document proposes that HGVs heading for the channel ports be prohibited from using local roads unless these are included in Operation Brock, the queueing system that will be used to deal with disruption on the M20 leading to Dover, in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Those that do not comply with this ruling could be fined £300, which, the document states, would make an effective deterrent.

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It proposes that Highways England traffic officers and other traffic officers be given additional powers to check hauliers’ paperwork to establish whether the truck’s destination is domestic or international.

Traffic officers will also be given powers to check paperwork relating to goods on the vehicle to establish if they are in “border ready”, the document suggests. Those with inadequate paperwork will be prevented from proceeding to the border.

The document states that government research has shown that delays are most likely to be caused by hauliers that are not border-ready, creating long queues at the French border.

The checks will take place both in the M20 Operation Brock queueing area and at Manston Airport, with compliant hauliers then issued a “Brock permit”.

Any haulier who attempts to make the channel crossing without a Brock permit will be fined £300.

However, the document emphasises that HGVs will only be stopped for checks when queues on routes to the channel ports start to form, and not before, so as not to exacerbate congestion.

The consultation period will close on 12 August.

Industry reaction

Both RHA and FTA criticised plans to fine hauliers for incorrect paperwork.

Rod McKenzie, RHA managing director of policy and public affairs said: "We have been told fines will only happen if operators disobey the rules. We do need clarity on what those rules are. They do need to be told urgently what is required from them and that has not happened yet."

Heidi Skinner, policy manager for the South East at FTA, said: "Without clarification from government on exactly the paperwork required at port of entry or departure, this consultation is placing the blame for potential delays at Britain’s ports on the hauliers charged with keeping Britain trading after Brexit."

She added: "To add the threat of significant fines of over £300 for those drivers trying to circumvent the system and achieve their Just in Time deliveries will add to the business pressures and potentially increase prices at a time when logistics businesses are doing their utmost to keep goods and services flowing freely to and from the UK’s largest trading partner.”