The UK government is continuing to hold talks with its French counterparts on reopening the border between the UK and France after it was closed for 48 hours last Sunday (December 20).

Trucks have been left stranded across the UK and mainland Europe as the closure of the Channel Tunnel and the Port of Dover has brought the haulage industry to a standstill.

Also Read: Closure of Port of Dover and Channel Tunnel a ‘disaster’ for UK exports and haulage sector

Ian Wright, CEO of Food and Drink Federation, said:

“36 hours after the French border was closed to accompanied freight, and with 1,500 lorries stranded in Kent, it is imperative that a solution is found, today, to this issue.

“UK shoppers need have no concerns about food supplies over Christmas, but impacts on local on-shelf availability of certain fresh foods look likely from next week unless we can swiftly restore this link.

“The government is right that 80% of trade is unaccompanied, but roll-on, roll-off, accompanied trucks is by far the preferred mode of transport for fresh food. Around half of all our food is imported at this time of year.

We must also recognise the terrible toll being taken on UK food exporters and on hauliers. Lorry loads worth millions of pounds are being spoiled.

“For most, insurance will not cover these losses which must be compensated.”

What caused the closure of the border?

The ban on travel comes after London and parts of south-east England were placed into a new “Tier 4” lockdown, due to fears about a rapidly spreading new strain of Covid-19 in those areas.

This has prompted over 20 countries including Ireland and Germany to impose a total ban of passengers arriving from the UK.

Unlike in France, freight and exports will still be allowed travel from the UK into Ireland, but those measures are set to be reviewed at a meeting of the Irish government today (December 22).