The Government has published its Operation Yellowhammer ‘reasonable worst case planning assumptions’ in the event of a no-deal Brexit, and they reveal there will NOT be food shortages.
Redacted versions of the document released this evening outline how the country might be affected by a sudden departure from the EU, and when they were leaked earlier this year faced accusations of ‘scaremongering’.
But the document released today shows that there will not be food shortages in the event of a no deal exit from the European Union, but instead a reduction in the ‘availability and choice of products’.
Elsewhere, the ‘months of chaos’ predicted at British ports appear to be less severe that previously expected – with the documents only foreseeing the ‘worst disruption’ to last three months.
Despite this, the document, which features 20 ‘key planning assumptions’ – one of which is partially redacted – reveal some very real concerns over a no deal exit including electricity price increases, delays to medicine imports and protests and counter-protests across the UK.
Redacted versions of the documents released this evening outline how the country might be affected by a sudden departure from the EU (above and below)
A series of bullet points start the document, which are then followed by the 20 ‘key planning assumptions’. These warn of how the public and businesses are not fully prepared for a no deal.
And that the risks associated with winter and autumn ‘such as severe weather, flooding and seasonal flu’ could exacerbate the impacts and stretch resources.
The planning assumptions begin by outlining how October 31, Mr Johnson’s ‘do or die’ Brexit departure date, doesn’t work in the Government’s advantage – as it is a Friday. The exit date may also coincide with the end of the October half term holidays, the documents warn.
Project Yellowhammer then moves on to warnings over how France will impose EU mandatory controls on UK goods ‘on day 1 no deal’ – D1ND as the document refers to it – and will have built infrastructure and IT systems to manage and process customs declarations and support a risk-based control regime.
The document says: ‘On D1ND, between 50-85% of HGVs travelling via the short Channel Straits may not be ready for French customs.
‘The lack of trader readiness combined with limited space in French ports to hold ‘unready’ HGVs could reduce the flow rate to 40-60% of current levels within one day as unready HGVs will fill the ports and block flow.
‘The worst disruption to the short Channel Straits might last for up to 3 months before it improves by a significant level to around 50-70% (due to more traders getting prepared), although there could continue to be some disruption for significantly longer.
‘Disruption to flow across the short Channel Straits would also cause significant queues in Kent and delays to HGVs attempting to use the routes to travel to France.
‘In a reasonable worst-case scenario, HGVs could face maximum delays of 1.5-2.5 days before being able to cross the border.’
The document – which says the assumptions are ‘as of August 2’ this year – then moves on to discuss how UK citizens travelling to and from the EU may be subject to increased immigration checks at EU border posts.
Redacted versions of the documents connected to no-deal Brexit planning have now been published by No10 (Boris Johnson is pictured speaking today from Downing Street)
It warns: ‘This may lead to passenger delays at St Pancras, Cheriton (Channel Tunnel) and Dover where juxtaposed controls are in place.
‘Dependent on the plans EU member states put in place to cope with these increased immigration checks, it is likely that delays will occur for UK arrivals and departures at EU airports and ports.
‘This could cause some disruption on transport services. Travellers may decide to use alternative routes to complete their journey.’
Project Yellowhammer then goes on to outline how electricity prices will likely increase, although there is not expected to be any disruption to supply.
It reads: ‘Demand for energy will be met and there will be no disruption to electricity or gas interconnections. In Northern Ireland there will not be immediate disruption to electricity supply on Day 1.
‘However, there will likely be significant electricity prince increases for consumers (business and domestic), with associated wider economic and political impacts. Some participants could exit the market, thereby exacerbating the economic and political impacts.’
Warning of medicine shortages, the document then goes on to outline how ‘the reliance of medicines and medicinal products’ supply chains on the short straits crossing make them particularly vulnerable to severe extended delays’.
It adds: ‘While some products can be stockpiled, others cannot due to short shelf lives – it will also not be practical to stockpile products to cover expected delays of up to six months.’
The documents were released after former attorney general Dominic Grieve demanded all written and electronic contact about the temporary suspension of Parliament and Operation Yellowhammer documents since July 23 be released. His demand was approved by MPs by 311 votes to 302 on Monday.
His motion asked for all correspondence and communications, formal or informal, including WhatsApp, Telegram, Signal, Facebook Messenger, private email accounts, text messages, iMessage and official and personal mobile phones connected to the present Government since July 23 relating to prorogation.
It listed key individuals of Mr Johnson’s Government, including senior adviser Dominic Cummings and director of legislative affairs Nikki da Costa.
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Michael Gove, who is in charge of no-deal planning, wrote to Mr Grieve on Wednesday saying this was ‘unprecedented use of the … procedure’.