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UPDATE 1-Britain eyeing 10 centres for post-Brexit customs checks

Thu, 8th Oct 2020 16:18

(Adds quotes, background, details)

LONDON, Oct 8 (Reuters) - Britain may build up to 10 centres
to process customs checks and paperwork for trucks bound for
Europe after Brexit and will fine drivers who head to ports
without the correct documentation.

Britain will fully leave the European Union on Dec. 31,
meaning businesses will need declarations to import and export
into the world's biggest trading bloc for the first time in
years.

With less than three months to go, the government is still
setting out its plans for trade after it warned that a lack of
preparation by many companies could lead to queues of around
7,000 lorries in the southeast of England.

It said on Thursday it had identified 10 sites around the
country including in the county of Kent - home to the ports of
Dover and Folkestone which sail to Calais - in central England
and near the ports sailing to Ireland.

In the area of Ashford, near Dover, it has started work on a
site in Sevington which may hold trucks if traffic is disrupted,
and where goods and declarations could be checked to make sure
they are ready to travel. Other sites still require planning
permission.

In a bid to prevent trucks from clogging the roads of Kent,
the government will also introduce a Kent Access Permit which
truck drivers must carry to access the main roads to the ports.

"HGV (lorry) drivers on those key roads in Kent without one
could be stopped and issued with a 300 pound on-the-spot fine,"
it said.

The government's latest document on the Border Operating
Model said lorry drivers operating in the Kent area but not
bound for Europe should also carry paperwork, in a sign of the
increased bureaucracy business is likely to face next year.

"With fewer than 3 months to go, businesses need to prepare
now for new procedures whether or not we reach a trade agreement
with the EU, so that they can seize the significant
opportunities that lie ahead," said Michael Gove, the minister
overseeing Brexit planning.
(Reporting by Kate Holton and Guy Faulconbridge, Editing by
Paul Sandle and Stephen Addison)

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