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Three quarters of hauliers in danger of losing permits in no-deal Brexit reports that when Britain leaves the single market and customs union at the end of the year, lorry companies will lose the right to provide road transport services in the EU.

Instead, they will automatically enter the European Conference of Ministers of Transport (ECMT) scheme, which distributes a fixed number of permits per country. There were 8,348 UK-registered international road hauliers last year, according to Department for Transport data.

However, under the ECMT scheme, the UK would be allocated permits for only 2,088 companies.

Sarah Laouadi, European policy manager at the Freight Transport Association, said haulage businesses, already under financial strain from Covid-19, needed clarity within weeks, as “Christmas peak time starts in autumn” for the industry.

“If you learn whether you have the right to continue operating as a company on Dec 28 and the only fallback plan is the ECMT system, which requires applications and allocations for permits, it will be too late,” Ms Laouadi said.

In no-deal contingency plans made last year, the hauliers who made the most cross-Channel journeys were prioritised, followed by those with a high proportion of international business, which did not include between Britain and the Republic of Ireland.

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