'Welcome to Brexit': Dutch officials confiscate British truckers' sandwiches under new import rules

British hauliers have had ham sandwiches confiscated at the Dutch border after customs officers told truckers “welcome to Brexit”.  In video footage aired by Dutch TV it shows British drivers having their packed lunches confiscated under new Brexit rules which ban the personal importation of any meat and dairy items.  In the recording the officer tells the lorry driver, who is outside his vehicle at the Hook of Holland ferry terminal, that as a result of Brexit, “you are no longer allowed to bring certain foods to Europe, like meat, fruit, vegetables, fish, that kind of stuff.”

The new laws came into effect on New Year’s Day, after the transition period was completed.  The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) states commercial drivers will “not be able to bring POAO (products of an animal origin) such as those containing meat or dairy (for example, a ham and cheese sandwich) into the EU”.  It comes as hauliers have warned that freight delays will escalate this week as more firms attempt to send lorries abroad.

Rod McKenzie, director of policy and public affairs at the Road Haulage Association (RHA), said he was “very worried” about the impact of post-Brexit customs checks. He said: “Traders have been holding off sending lorries into harm’s way, because they wanted to see what other people’s problems were so they could learn from them. “But you can’t keep doing that forever, you’ve got to trade.

There will come a moment when people bite the bullet and send the truck.”

Brexit in Pictures

Pete White, transport manager at Berkshire-based haulage firm Whites Transport Services, said his lorries are suffering major disruption, with journeys that previously took two days now taking up to five. Meanwhile, Boris Johnson has been urged to intervene after Kirkella, the trawler which normally catches up to 10 per cent of all the fish sold in the UK’s fish and chip shops, continues to be tied up in port waiting for new distant-waters fishing deals. The 100-strong crew of Kirkella are still waiting for negotiations to be completed with Norway and other countries. 

The trawler Kirkella, described as the ‘pride of the UK’s distant-waters fishing fleet’, has been stuck in Hull since DecemberCredit: PA

Kirkella, which can freeze up to 780 tonnes of cod and haddock on its trips, has been tied up in St George’s Dock, Hull, since returning from its last trip at the beginning of December.

In a letter to the Prime Minister, Karl Turner, the Labour MP for Hull East, said he wanted to know the Government’s plan to secure continued access to the quotas the UK has caught historically in the Norwegian Economic Zone (NEZ) in and around the Barents Sea. The MP said he also wanted to know about plans to secure access to the waters around Svalbard, Greenland and Iceland.

Freight lorries are parked at a truck stop off the M20 leading to Dover near Folkestone in Kent in December 2020, after France closed its borders to accompanied freight arriving from the UK due to the rapid spread of a new coronavirus strainCredit: JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images

Chief executive of UK Fisheries, Jane Sandell, said: “Talks between the UK, the EU and Norway are only beginning now, and there is no certainty unless the Government seriously raises its game that we will get anything like the quota we need in distant waters that will make fishing economically viable for us.” A UK Government spokesman said: “The UK has secured a Fisheries Framework Agreement with Norway and the Faroe Islands, which provides the legal basis for annual negotiations on fishing opportunities and potential access to each other’s waters.

“Negotiations for fishing opportunities in 2021 will be concluded as soon as possible.”

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