Flights between between the UK and EU could be grounded and British farm exports blocked under a ‘no deal’ Brexit, the Government’s own assessments have revealed.
The impact of crashing out of the European Union without an agreement was laid bare in a series of technical papers released by Whitehall on Monday, with business and farming groups warning of the “catastrophic” consequences.
As well as disruption to airline flights and agricultural trade, the latest batch of ‘technical notices’ suggest that motorists, pet owners, truck drivers, chemical and tech firms would all face new costs, red tape and delays.
Under a no-deal outcome, EU-issued aviation licences would no longer be valid and airlines would have to seek individual permissions to operate across Europe, one document states.
Although the UK says it would unilaterally grant EU airlines permission to land at British airports, and hope other countries would reciprocate, it admitted some flights would be grounded.
“It would not be in the interest of any EU country or the UK to restrict the choice of destinations that could be served, though if such permissions are not granted, there could be disruption to some flights.”
Another paper added: “If there is no deal, and the EU decides not to recognise the UK aviation security system, then passengers and their luggage will have to be rescreened when changing flights in EU hub airports.”
UK bus and coach operators will also no longer be able to rely on automatic recognition by the EU of UK-issued Community Licences, hitting cheap bus and coach travel to Europe.
For pet owners, new vaccination regulations would mean those who want to take holidays in the EU would have to prepare for travel “at least four months ahead in advance of the date they wish to travel”.
British motorists driving through Europe would need a new ‘green card’ to prove their third party insurance, while insurers “may decide to reflect production and handling costs in a small increase to their administration fees”.
For farmers the impact would be severe, as the papers suggest that the export of animals and animal products would be delayed by a minimum of six months until the EU and UK sorted minimum regulatory standards.
The tech industry would face disruption to its key licensing rules and chemicals would have to be registered twice in the UK and EU.
Theresa May again told the Cabinet today that she was preparing for a ‘no deal’ scenario in the event of her Chequers compromise plan failing to win agreement in Brussels.
But Shadow Brexit minister Jenny Chapman said: “Today’s Brexit notices underline why no-deal is simply not an option.
“The British people will be very alarmed to find out that UK and EU licensed airlines would need to seek new permissions to be able to operate in the event of no-deal.
“British exporters, consumers and tourists cannot have their lives and businesses thrown into chaos because this Tory Government are too divided to succeed in the negotiations.”
Business groups were even more scathing.
NFU President Minette Batters said: “These technical notices confirm in black and white what we already knew: a no deal scenario would be catastrophic for British agriculture.
“A scenario where farmers face an immediate trade embargo for many of their products would have devastating effects, and would severely threaten livelihoods and businesses.”
Andrew Opie, Director of Food and Sustainability at the British Retail Consortium, said: “Today’s technical notices lay bare the realities of a No Deal Brexit - more delays, extra costs and an explosion of red tape for retailers.
“We’re faced with the very real possibility of chaos at ports, putting a block on food imports and exports. Retailers are also now faced with a mountain of new labelling requirements as well as paperwork and red tape, particularly for products such as fresh meat, fish and some dairy products.”
Peter Vicary-Smith, Chief Executive of Which?, said: “From grounded flights, to bus trips that can’t make it across the Channel and UK driving licences becoming worthless in Europe, it’s clear that a no-deal Brexit could cause chaos for anyone who travels. It will potentially leave tourists stranded abroad and make holidays more expensive and inconvenient for millions of people.”
Julian David, techUK CEO, said: “Once again the notices demonstrate that a No Deal Brexit would be deeply damaging for our economy.”
Mike Spicer, Director of Research and Economics at the British Chambers of Commerce, said: “There will be major concerns in industries like aviation and road haulage that operate routinely across borders at European scale, that their markets will be fragmented by new licensing or regulatory frameworks.”