This Monday, a convoy of nearly 90 trucks rolled through the English countryside to Britain’s main port to continental Europe. It was a government test-run for a potentially chaotic Brexit; it was also to be openly mocked by opponents of the split.
Prime Minister May is trying to force her Brexit deal through parliament but lawmakers are expected to reject it. If so, business chiefs and investors fear the world’s fifth-largest economy will leave the European Union at 23:00 GMT on March 29 without an agreement on their future relationship.
May’s government has repeatedly warned that a no deal will lead to severe economic disruption, and Monday’s exercise was part of preparations to ensure essential supplies can keep flowing through Dover, Europe’s busiest ferry port.
The Transport Ministry said it was testing Manston airfield as a holding facility for lorries and traffic congestion on Kent roads in the event of disruption at the border. Setting off from Manston, 87 trucks drove the 32 km to Dover and back again. They then drove again to Dover. Hiring the lorries cost 48,950 pounds, the Ministry said.
The exercise was criticised by lawmakers as a waste of time and money, and it was mocked on Twitter as “a fake traffic jam ... to show the EU we are ready for no deal”.
According to uk.reuters.com, Britain’s Road Haulage Association (RHA) said the trial was too little, too late and would need to be repeated to properly stress-test the management of thousands of lorries.