he UK will start a mass testing programme at its ports after an settlement was reached to reopen its border with France.
The mass testing programme for HGV drivers will get underway to alleviate congestion at ports, the Division for Transport stated.
French authorities introduced that journeys from the UK might be allowed to renew on Wednesday after the coronavirus ban was lifted, however these looking for to journey will need to have a destructive check end result.
The protocol agreed with the French authorities might be reviewed on December 31 however may run till January 6, the Division for Transport (DfT) stated.
All lorry drivers, no matter nationality, would require a lateral move check, which might present ends in about 30 minutes.
The French authorities may also perform pattern testing on incoming freight to the UK, the DfT stated.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps stated: “I’m happy that we have now made this necessary progress with our French counterparts this night.
“This protocol will see the French border reopen to these travelling for pressing causes, offered they’ve a licensed destructive Covid check.
“We proceed to induce hauliers to not journey to Kent till additional discover as we work to alleviate congestion at ports.”
Full particulars of the testing programme haven’t but been launched, however Mr Shapps warned it may take till Christmas for congestion to be relieved close to ports.
The journey ban was imposed in response to fears concerning the unfold of the extra infectious coronavirus pressure, which is spreading within the UK.
In a press launch, the French overseas affairs ministry stated that from 11pm UK time (midnight in France) there could be a “restricted resumption of the motion of individuals from the UK to France topic to destructive well being checks delicate to the variant”.
Lorry drivers have been pressured to sleep of their autos in a single day
/ Getty Pictures )
The assertion stated destructive check end result, taken lower than 72 hours earlier than the journey, is required and this may be both a “PCR or antigen check” delicate to the brand new variant.
Those that could make journeys embrace French and EU residents, British or third-party nationals who usually dwell in France or the EU, in addition to another teams.
Eurotunnel stated solely pre-booked passengers who had already examined destructive ought to go to its terminal.
“From 23:00hrs on 22/12/2020, to journey to France passengers will want: – A destructive end result from a Covid-19 check accepted by the French Authorities – Taken within the final 72 hours – An electronic mail or SMS certificates issued by the testing facility.
“Please make sure you meet the French Authorities’s standards earlier than travelling to our terminal.
“There isn’t a Covid-19 testing facility at Eurotunnel. Go to our web site to ebook or amend tickets. PLEASE DO NOT ARRIVE WITHOUT A BOOKING AS WE ARE FULLY BOOKED.”
Greater than 2,800 HGVs have been caught in Kent on Tuesday afternoon on account of the disruption.
The French resolution to ease its restrictions got here after the European Fee really helpful a joint strategy from EU members in response to the mutant VUI 202012/1 coronavirus.
The EU-wide strategy really helpful by the fee would permit important journey, and transit of passengers needs to be facilitated.
Flight and practice bans “needs to be discontinued given the necessity to guarantee important journey and keep away from provide chain disruptions”, the fee stated.
EU justice commissioner Didier Reynders stated: “Member states ought to take co-ordinated motion to discourage non-essential journey between the UK and the EU.”
However “on the identical time, blanket journey bans mustn’t forestall 1000’s of EU and UK residents from returning to their properties”.
Transport commissioner Adina Valean stated: “Inside the EU, it’s essential that transport staff are exempted from any restrictive measures.”
Andrew Opie, director of meals and sustainability on the British Retail Consortium (BRC), informed the Enterprise Choose Committee: “If we don’t see the empty vans, which have already delivered to warehouses and shops, getting again over the Channel, they won’t be able to choose up the subsequent consignment of recent fruit, greens, salad greens.
“What we’ve been informed by members is that until these vans can begin travelling once more and return to Spain and Portugal and different components of Europe, we may have issues with recent produce from December 27.”