Archie Norman, chair of Marks and Spencer, said this week: “Some of the descriptors, particularly of animal products, have to be written in Latin and in a certain typeface.” Every sandwich containing butter, he said, requires an EU vet certificate, which means employing 13 vets and budgeting for 30 per cent more driver time.
Six-mile queues at Dover and 18-mile lines at Calais this year were caused by post-Brexit checks, worsened by small numbers of lorries with the wrong paperwork.
We can expect more delays in September, when a new security system may require drivers to leave their vehicles for facial or body scans, and more again next year when trucks will be inspected at the new inland border at Sevington, near Ashford, Kent.
The metaphor of supply “chains” makes the process sound orderly and smooth, but from the first this journey along them was more like an adventure through a wild ecosystem in which we were a prey, dashing between safe habitats such as lorry parks and filling stations, hunted by authorities, legislation and customs rules that sought to charge, delay or stop us.
It was not that the trucks had any deficiency to bother the police or the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency, which regulates haulage in Britain. It was that many drivers loathe and avoid the DVSA, and checkpoints of all kinds in all countries.
“They’re not on your side. They’re out to get you. It’s like they want to punish you for doing your job,” Ian said. “They want to fine you and take your money.”
— Alec Russell (@AlecuRussell) May 20, 2022