Goods to be waved through UK ports without checks under no-deal Brexit, ministers admit

Posted On: 
4th February 2019

Hauliers will be able to bring goods into the UK without facing checks at the border in a bid to avoid traffic jams if there is a no-deal Brexit, ministers have revealed.

Lorries arriving at the Port of Dover in Kent
PA Images

HMRC guidance says companies will be expected to make customs declarations and to disclose safety and security information ahead of travelling to Britain if the country crashes out on 29 March without a withdrawal agreement in place.

The special arrangement, which will affect goods coming in to 20 ports around the country, is expected to last for up to six months.

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A document setting out the plan, published on the HMRC website, said: “For a temporary period, HMRC will allow most goods moving from the listed roll on roll off locations to leave the UK port or train station before you’ve told us that the goods have arrived.

“If you’ve submitted either a full declaration or a simplified frontier declaration, you must tell us as soon as possible when the goods arrive in the UK.”

The list of official roll-on, roll-off locations includes Dover, Folkestone, Liverpool and Hull.

Ferry operators and Channel Tunnel officials meanwhile will need to have “reasonable belief” that customers have made the necessary declarations in advance of their journey – such as by requesting it as part of their terms and conditions.

“You’ll need to show the booking to HMRC if we ask for it,” the document states.

Labour MP and supporter of the pro-EU Best for Britain campaign, Geraint Davies, said: “They said we would take back control of our borders but now the plan is to wave things through irrespective of our safety.

“We’ll have no idea what is coming into our ports.”