Published: 22:46, 14 September 2020
| Updated: 09:18, 15 September 2020
The prediction comes in a “reasonable worst-case scenario” report, drawn up by the Border and Protocol Delivery Group, which also predicts delays of two hours on Eurostar trains.
The 46-page report was drafted last week, and also warns a a core IT system for hauliers is not expected to be tested publicly until the end of November, the Guardian reports.
The news comes on the day it was revealed Ebbsfleet International station will be used by Boris Johnson's Government for Brexit after its sudden closure as a coronavirus test centre.
The confidential report was presented to a meeting of the Exit Operations committee chaired by Michael Gove, Minister for the Cabinet Office.
“It is estimated a maximum queue of 6,500 HGVs may develop in January,” the report says. “Disruption could be lower in the initial days of January but we would expect sustained disruption to worsen over the first two weeks as demand builds”, with people returning to work after the Christmas and New Year holidays.
“Considering demand levels in the first week of February, it is estimated that if readiness does not improve by then, queues could reach a length of 7,000 HGVs. In each case it is estimated that HGVs could take two days to reach the front of the queue,” it says.
The report calls for advice centres to be set up across the country, with 39 sites identified at truck stop and service stations on all main motorways including the M20 in Kent, the M6, M40 and M1.
A Cabinet Office spokesman told the Guardian: “As a responsible government we continue to make extensive preparations for a wide range of scenarios, including the reasonable worst case. This is not a forecast or prediction of what will happen but rather a stretching scenario. It reflects a responsible government ensuring we are ready for all eventualities.”