Freight: Agricultural Products

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 12th October 2020.

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Photo of Kerry McCarthy Kerry McCarthy Shadow Minister (Transport)

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will prioritise the movement of agricultural products for firms relying on just-in-time production between the UK and EU after the end of the transition period.

Photo of Victoria Prentis Victoria Prentis The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

The UK has a highly resilient food supply chain.

Defra is working closely with officials in the Department for Transport, the Borders and Protocol Delivery Group, and other Government departments on the transport of food products, including considering prioritising movements in the event of disruption.

Across Government we are introducing a number of measures which will ensure the quick and efficient transport of food products between the UK and EU. The Check an HGV is Ready to Cross the Border service (formerly referred to as the Smart Freight service) and Kent Access Permit are designed to ensure smooth flow of freight, including food, to the EU from Kent.

In parallel to the Check an HGV service, Defra is developing contingency plans to prioritise certain goods for exports, which will be deployed if severe and sustained traffic disruption arises in Kent. We have consulted on proposals to allow for the prioritisation of a limited range of goods through Kent. This would include agricultural products based on strict criteria of perishability, animal welfare and economic impact to specific geographical areas of the UK.

The Government is also taking contingency measures to ensure the continued supply of Category 1 goods in the event of disruption to key freight flows at the end of the transition period. The Category 1 goods list includes critical food chain dependencies, such as chemicals and key additives used within the food supply chain. Should it be required, Government freight capacity will enable the prioritised import of certain inputs required for just-in-time production in the UK.

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