Port of Felixstowe
Image Source: John Fielding
MPs said there is a "real risk" the Department for Transport is not ready for a hard Brexit
Richard Bell

Hard Brexit will create ‘major disruption’ at UK ports, MPs warn

UK ports are set for “major disruption” if the UK breaks away from the EU without a deal, MPs have warned.

According to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), the Government’s preparations for avoiding port disruption in a no-deal Brexit scenario are “worryingly under-developed”.

The warning comes less than 24 hours after a damning report into the potential impact the Prime Minister’s current deal could have on the UK economy.

PAC committee members also said there is a “real risk” the Department for Transport (DfT) will not be ready for a hard Brexit.

But the DfT refuted this in a statement reported by the BBC, calling the committee’s conclusions inaccurate and saying it was “both disappointed and surprised” the PAC went against evidence from the National Audit Office’s report, which it said found the DfT “has made a determined effort in its preparations and achieved a great deal”.

The PAC’s job is to scrutinise the value for money of public spending and hold the Government to account over its delivery of public services.

Committee chairwoman Meg Hillier said: “The future of road, rail, maritime and air access to Europe after Brexit remains unclear and the Department for Transport has a critical role in ensuring the UK is prepared.

“With so little time remaining, there is still much to do. The risks associated with no-deal are severe, yet plans for avoiding disruption around major ports in particular are worryingly under-developed.”

The DfT intends to launch ‘Project Brock’ – a plan to minimise lorry queues on roads to Dover, bound for journeys across the Channel, by holding them on the M20 so that traffic not headed for the port can keep moving.

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