NICOLA Sturgeon called for Boris Johnson to activate a “port disruption” no-deal Brexit plan after Scottish exporters were stuck waiting to enter France.
Amid fears of the spread of a new, more infectious strain of coronavirus, France announced on Sunday night a ban on shippers transporting cargo across the English Channel.
Travel restrictions for the United Kingdom have been announced in countries including France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, Poland, Austria, Denmark, Ireland and Bulgaria. After news that in southeast England, the highly infectious new strain was spreading.
Jean-Baptiste Djebbari, French Minister of Transport, said Monday that a protocol would be adopted at EU level “to ensure that travel from Britain can resume.”
The U.K. was also called upon by the First Minister. The government is warning that “secure a reprieve” to extend the Brexit transition period that expires on Hogmanay or “we all have enough to do at the moment without adding to these difficulties by ending the Brexit transition period.”
She welcomed the pledge made by the French government, but said that since it was not known exactly when it would come into effect, further action should be taken by the British government.
During the daily coronavirus briefing, Ms. Sturgeon said, “In particular, the UK has planned for port disruption as part of a no-deal Brexit, and those plans should be activated now.”
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The First Minister said that, with both holding resilience meetings, the Scottish government was working with the UK government to mitigate the impact.
Ms. Sturgeon assured Scots that the supply of medicines, including the Covid-19 vaccine, had no issues.
“We’ve been assured by supermarkets that they’re well stocked for Christmas, so there’s absolutely no need for people to buy more than they normally would.”We have been assured by supermarkets that for Christmas they are well stocked, so there is absolutely no need for people to buy more than they would normally.
The First Minister spoke in Scotland as food export firms warned that the ban would be a “disaster.”
James Withers, Scotland Food & Drink’s chief executive, said urgent action was needed to safeguard “millions worth of perishable products.”
He said, “We need to lift the cross-channel cargo ban in the next 24 hours so that products can be moved again no later than Tuesday morning.”
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We heard from companies that have dozens of trucks that have gone to Dover overnight, or to the Eurotunnel that is now closed to traffic inbound,”We’ve heard from companies that have dozens of trucks that have gone overnight to Dover or into the Eurotunnel, which is now closed to inbound traffic,”
Millions of perishable products are being transported and the clock is ticking for those products to survive these delays.
“We estimate that over £5 million worth of Scottish food will be on its way to France every day this week.”
“He continued, “For many businesses, the timing could hardly be worse.
Key markets in France and Spain, part of the big pre-Christmas sales rush, are due to open on Wednesday.
“As it stands, Scottish seafood exports won’t reach those markets, which will exacerbate the losses businesses have already suffered this year due to Covid.”
Scottish government export figures released last week indicate that France continues to be the largest single importer of food and drink from Scotland.
In the first nine months of 2020, exports to France have already fallen by 11.3 per cent compared to the same period last year.
I fully understand the concerns of France and others about this new strain of Covid-19, Mr. Withers added. We are all worried about it.
France, however, is alone in the introduction of a cargo ban; other EU countries have focused only on restricting the general public’s travel.
“We need the UK government to agree a protocol for freight as a matter of urgency, with perhaps driver testing providing the reassurance we need.”
His call was echoed by the Scottish Seafood Association, with Chief Executive Jimmy Buchan saying the move would be a “disaster” for companies already hard hit by the first wave of the pandemic.
Mr. Buchan said, “Not only for the sake of the members of the SSA, but for the millions of our world-class seafood products sold throughout Europe.”