Goods and services including vital medical supplies could face significant disruption in crossing the English Channel for up to six months according to “worse case scenario” plans drawn up by the UK government.
The documents, dubbed “Operation Yellowhammer”, laid out the major problems the UK could face if it crashes out of the EU without a deal on 31st October.
The plans estimated between 50 and 85% of lorries travelling across the Channel Strait between the UK and France were not ready for the French customs checks.
The documents say there could be “significant disruption for up to six months” until freight carries adjust to the new requirements.
This is likely to have a knock-on effect on the UK’s medicine supplies as three-quarters of medicine is brought in via this short strait.
The document said: “The reliance of medicines and medical products’ supply chain on the short straits crossing makes them particularly vulnerable to severe extended delays.
“While some medicines can be stockpiled, others cannot due to short shelf lives – it will not also be practical to stockpile products to cover the expected delays of up to six months”.
The documents also outline fuel shortages which will particularly affect London and the south-east of England as regional traffic disruption caused by the blockage at the ports.
In turn this could lead to fuel shortages elsewhere in the country as people start panicking buying.
Operation Yellowhammer does rule out likelihood of any food shortages but notes that as the UK will be coming out of its growing season so certain types of fresh food may not be as readily available.
The documents note poorer households will be “disproportionately affected by any price rises in food and fuel”.