LONDON—Britain will begin rehearsals for the possible chaos of a “no-deal” Brexit on Jan. 7 by testing how the road network copes with a backup of about 150 trucks caused by a disruption at its most important trading gateway to continental Europe.
Prime Minister Theresa May is trying to force her Brexit deal through Parliament, but if it is rejected, the United Kingdom will either leave without a deal on March 29 or have to delay Brexit. May has repeatedly warned that if lawmakers don’t approve her deal, the world’s fifth-largest economy will leave the EU without one, a nightmare scenario for many big businesses who fear disruption to trade.
Britain will hold a trial run of its plans for dealing with long lines of trucks at the port of Dover caused by disruption to cross-Channel traffic in the event of a no-deal Brexit, the Department for Transport said. The test will involve driving about 150 trucks between a local airport, which will be used as a truck park, and Dover in southeast England to see if it clogs affected roads.
“We do not want or expect a no-deal scenario and continue to work hard to deliver a deal with the EU,” a spokeswoman for the Department for Transport said. “However, it is the duty of a responsible government to continue to prepare for all eventualities and contingencies, including a possible no-deal.”
May’s government has repeatedly warned of the disruption a no-deal Brexit would unleash on everything from pet tourism to the import of crucial medicines and supply chains that criss-cross Europe and beyond.
Brexit supporters say that, while there may be some short-term disruption, in the long-term, the UK will thrive outside what they cast as an undemocratic and excessively bureaucratic project dominated by Germany.
Amid the uncertainty about the future course of Brexit, the British economy is showing clear signs of slowing.
By Kylie MacLellan and Andy Bruce