Research commissioned by the BBC from Imperial College suggests that each extra minute of customs delay at peak times at Dover could increase tail-backs on the M20 by ten miles – in theory suggesting that if average lorry clearance times increased from the current two minutes to just over nine minutes the queues could reach back to London.
(Queues at peak times currently stretch for ten miles and Dover is just over eighty miles from London.)
Commenting, Caroline Lucas MP, leading supporter of the Open Britain campaign, said:
“This independent research for the BBC shows, once again, the price we will pay if we leave the Customs Union.
“The problems Dover and Kent face from a Britain outside the Customs Union are just the start: many more ports will be affected, and many businesses will have to relocate or may face financial ruin because of the delays caused by customs checks.
“And in Northern Ireland the imposition of customs checks threatens the Good Friday Agreement. A problem the government simply have no answer to.
“As it becomes more and more clear what the costs of leaving the EU and the Customs Union will be, we have the right to ask whether they are the right decisions for the country and to insist that Theresa May allows a free vote on whether to accept any deal she agrees over Brexit.”
Notes to editors
The BBC report on this story can be read here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-kent-43318258