Brits warned of food shortages days after Christmas unless border reopens

Britain could face food shortages in just five days unless the border with France reopens, an expert has warned.

The port at Dover, Kent, and the Eurotunnel have both been shut – with thousands of lorry drivers stranded.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said the Government is "speaking constantly" with France to achieve a resolution "in both our interests" to get freight moving again.

However, fears have already been raised of the impact on supermarket goods.

Andrew Opie, director of food and sustainability at the British Retail Consortium (BRC), says the trucks need to cross within the next 24 hours.

Speaking in Parliament, he told the Business, Energy, Innovation, and Skills (BEIS) Committee: "The real issue we face is what happens in the next day or so.

"If we do not see the empty trucks, which have already delivered warehouses and stores, getting back over the channel, they will not be able to pick up the next consignment of fresh fruit, vegetables, salad vegetables, all the food we do not grow in the country at this time of year.

"What we've been told by members is that unless those trucks can start travelling again and go back to Spain and Portugal and other parts of Europe, we will problems with fresh produce from December 27.

"What we need is for those trucks to move in the next 24 hours if we are to avoid seeing problems on our shelves."

A number of countries have also banned flights from the UK after the discovery of a new, more infectious strain of the coronavirus.

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The European Commission today said travel from the UK to the EU should be "discouraged”.

However, it also called for bans on movement to be lifted.

Flight and train bans "should be discontinued given the need to ensure essential travel and avoid supply chain disruptions", the commission said.

EU justice commissioner Didier Reynders said: "Member states should take co-ordinated action to discourage non-essential travel between the UK and the EU."

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