French Covid Restrictions: Consultation on requirement for 'upstream' test
Ministers are now considering whether urgently to take powers to require hauliers, proceeding to Port of Dover and Eurotunnel, to evidence a negative Covid test before entering Kent.
The overall policy model here is akin to the Kent Access Permit, but the intention would be the legislate for a separate requirement to be in possession of evidence of a negative Covid test.
The requirement for a negative Covid test is an open-ended requirement of the French authorities that is likely to remain in place for some time. As things stand, The DfT are still seeing around 40% of hauliers get tested ‘upstream’ – which is good progress from the start of the year, but a proportion they wish to see grow substantially. The DfT have introduced Covid testing at 34 of our Information and Advice sites and they have also introduced a ‘fast track’ service to increase the incentive. However, despite these efforts around 60% of HCVs arriving in Dover have not had a test.
The DfT are today launching a urgent consultation on this, a link to the short consultation paper is below. Do please consider it and let them have any comments, also pass on to others with an interest.
Given the urgency they are seeking responses by close of play this Thursday, 14 January.
Please also note that Defra, have in parallel, been developing proposals for an Expedited Return Scheme, which would make it possible to prioritise vehicles critical to food supply chains past queues in Kent in the event of severe cross-channel disruption. That is subject to a separate urgent consultation which Defra will launch this evening, with a similarly tight deadline for responses. This should be available for distribution as soon as it has been finalised, and Defra would be grateful if you could also give it your attention.
Thanks for your attention to this, and for all your ongoing efforts in these challenging circumstances.