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Christmas food supply facing ‘serious disruption’ after UK travel ban

Fears have been raised that the UK could be hit by food shortages over Christmas as the country's supply faces serious disruption due to the closures of the Port of Dover and Eurotunnel.

It comes after France closed its borders to anyone travelling from the UK on Sunday night, as the Port of Dover and Eurotunnel both closed to all traffic.

France is among a number of European countries to implement travel restrictions in the wake of a new mutant strain of coronavirus sweeping through South East England and London.

The border closure has prompted police in Kent to activate Operation Stack on the coastbound carriageway of the M20 early on Monday – leaving freight lorries queueing for miles.

And now KentLive reports that the border closure is now causing potential serious disruption to the Christmas fresh food supply, industry experts have said.

The Food and Drink Federation (FDF) tweeted: “Responding to this evening’s suspension of accompanied freight traffic from the UK to France, FDF’s CEO Ian Wright said: 'Tonight’s suspension of accompanied freight traffic from the UK to France has the potential to cause serious disruption to UK Christmas fresh food supplies add exports of UK food and drink.

"Continental truckers will not want to travel here if they have a real fear of getting marooned.

"The Government must very urgently persuade the French government to exempt accompanied freight from its ban'.”

  • Extra police deployed at train stations to stop non-essential travel out of Tier 4

Sainsbury's has warned that if the travel bans on the UK continues it "will start to see gaps over the coming days on lettuce, some salad leaves, cauliflowers, broccoli and citrus fruit".

Earlier on Sunday, the Eurostar to France also announced it would be closing.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced that he will chair an emergency COBR meeting on Monday after European countries halted flights from the UK, the Dover ferry was closed and Eurotunnel access suspended at its Folkestone terminal on Sunday.

Eurostar trains between Belgium and the UK are cancelled from Monday, following the Belgian government’s announcement that borders with the UK will close at midnight on Sunday.

Eurotunnel tweeted: “URGENT: UK-France border closes 23:00 GMT tonight. Last shuttle UK-FR is 21:34 GMT, please check in on time. Access to UK site prohibited from 22:00 GMT.”

A long, snaking line of passengers formed inside St Pancras station in central London on Sunday as they waited to board one of the afternoon’s sold-out Eurostar trains.

Germany, Ireland, Belgium and even as far away as Kuwait have imposed bans to stop people from the UK entering their countries.

The Netherlands is banning flights from the UK for at least the rest of the year, while Italy’s foreign minister Luigi Di Maio also announced curbs were being imposed.

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