Hauliers will be able to bring goods into the UK without facing checks at the border in a bid to avoid traffic jams if there is a no-deal Brexit, it has been revealed.
HMRC guidance says companies will be expected to make customs declarations and to disclose safety and security information ahead of travelling to Britain if the country crashes out on 29 March without a withdrawal agreement in place.
The special arrangement, which will affect goods coming in to 20 ports around the country, is expected to last for up to six months.
Details of the transitional plan have been set out in a letter sent to 145,000 VAT registered businesses trading with the EU, and a document setting out the plan has also been published on the HMRC website. It stated: “For a temporary period, HMRC will allow most goods moving from the listed roll on roll off locations to leave the UK port or train station before you’ve told us that the goods have arrived.
“If you’ve submitted either a full declaration or a simplified frontier declaration, you must tell us as soon as possible when the goods arrive in the UK.”
The list of official roll-on, roll-off locations includes Dover, Folkestone, Liverpool and Hull.
Ferry operators and Channel Tunnel officials meanwhile will need to have “reasonable belief” that customers have made the necessary declarations in advance of their journey – such as by requesting it as part of their terms and conditions.
“You’ll need to show the booking to HMRC if we ask for it,” the document states.
Treasury minister Mel Stride said that although leaving the EU with a deal remains the government’s top priority, “a responsible government must plan for every eventuality, including a no deal scenario”.
He added: “HMRC is helping businesses get prepared and, amongst other significant communications, has written three times to affected businesses, each time stepping up the advice and encouraging them to take action.
“This latest letter, and new GOV.UK guidance, announces transitional simplified procedures for EU trade which will ease the transition, especially for businesses new to the rules associated with importing.”