Only 89 trucks turn up for no-deal Brexit UK lorry exercise
LONDON, Jan. 7 (Xinhua) -- A British government test of how lorries could cope in a no-deal Brexit ran into trouble on Monday when only 89 vehicles, just over half the required number, turned up.
Instead of the 150 heavy goods vehicles planned by organizers, just more than half took part in the trial of emergency measures to keep food and goods flowing between Britain and Europe.
The test was designed to see what lorry traffic jams will be like if Britain leaves the European Union on March 29 without a deal.
It was a fresh embarrassment for the British government days after it emerged that it had awarded a 14-million-pound (about 17.89 U.S. dollars) no-deal contract to a ferry company which owns no ferries and which appeared to have copied its terms and conditions from a food delivery service.
A squabble over who was to blame for Monday morning's damp squib was in full flow between the British Department of Transport and Kent County Council.
The exercise was planned to test an emergency measure to turn Manston airfield in Kent into a lorry park for goods vehicles en route to Dover if, as experts predict, extra checks and regulations after Brexit result in massive traffic jams and delays.
The convoy that later set off down the A256 appeared to include two removal vans and a Thanet Council bin lorry. Lorry drivers were given 550 pounds (702.58 U.S. dollars) for taking part in the exercise, making a bill for fees of 48,950 pounds (62,529.56 U.S. dollars).
Arguments were seen to break out among marshals over the best way out of the disused airfield, while the lorries took an hour to make the 53 km journey from Manston to Dover -- a trip that would normally take about 30 minutes.