Travel 'disruption' to flights, coaches and buses anticipated in event of no-deal Brexit

  • Video report by ITV News Political Correspondent Carl Dinnen

Flights could be grounded and bus and coach services to EU countries suspended in the event of a no-deal Brexit, the government has warned.

A tranche of documents released on Monday on the prospect of no-deal laid bare the "likelihood of chaos at ports", as well as disruption to food supplies and increased business costs.

Flights and coach travel could be particularly affected, with all bus and coach transit to EU countries suspended.

Pet owners could also face delays, including waits of up to four months to get a certificate proving their animals are effectively vaccinated for rabies.

  • What has Theresa May said about the Brexit negotiations?

Theresa May has told her Cabinet ministers to "hold their nerve" despite growing pressure to ditch her Chequers blueprint for future relations with the EU.

As ministers gathered at 10 Downing Street, the Prime Minister said she remained confident of securing a withdrawal agreement with the EU, but the Government would continue to plan for the possibility of no deal.

Guy Verhofstadt, the European Parliament's Brexit co-ordinator, described the discussions with Prime Minister as "open and honest".

The cabinet meeting comes as the Department for Exiting the EU (Dexeu) released guidance for UK businesses and households preparing for a no-deal Brexit.

Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab acknowledged there would be "some risks of short term disruption," to travel in the case of no-deal, as worries about the prospect sparked warnings from leading industry figures.

So what could the reality of no-deal Brexit look like?

  • Bus and coach travel

Bus and coach travel could face disruption under a no-deal Brexit. Credit: PA

Bus and coach services to European Union countries could be suspended in the event of a no-deal Brexit, the papers warn.

UK coach operators have been advised to consider subcontracting "all or part of the coach travel" on the continent to EU-based operators as no deal would mean operators could no longer rely on automatic recognition by the EU of UK-issued community licences.

The paper says: "The Government considers the likelihood of failing to achieve UK membership of Interbus by 29 March 2019, or very soon thereafter, to be low.

"But if this occurs for any reason, it would be likely that no UK operators would be able to take coach services into the EU at least in the short term."

  • Flights

Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary has repeatedly warned that flights could be grounded if an aviation deal is not reached as part of the Brexit negotiations. Credit: PA

Passengers could face flight disruption in the event of a no-deal Brexit, the paper predicts.

If the UK withdraws from the EU without an agreement then airlines will have to obtain individual permissions to operate between the UK and the EU, according to new guidance.

The document states that the UK "would envisage" allowing EU airlines to continue flying and "we would expect EU countries to reciprocate in turn", according to the document.

It added: "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."

Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary has repeatedly warned that flights could be grounded if an aviation deal is not reached as part of the Brexit negotiations.

Paul Everitt, chief executive of aviation group ADS, said: "It is clearer than ever that a no-deal Brexit risks disruption to air passengers and businesses in aviation, aerospace and many other sectors across our economy."

  • Food

Stilton cheese is among the foods that could be forced to apply for a new protected status from the EU in the event of a no-deal. Credit: PA

Dozens of British traditional foods from Stilton cheese to Cornish clotted cream may be forced to apply for new protected status from the EU.

Currently there are 86 agricultural, food and drink products protected under Europe's "geographical indication" schemes, from Stilton blue cheese and Cornish clotted cream to Welsh lamb, as well as wines and spirits.

Together they make up a quarter of the value of UK food and drink exports, according to the latest technical notices on the UK quitting the EU without a deal.

The Government said it anticipates that all the current UK products will continue to be protected by the EU's geographical indication schemes, which prevent them being imitated throughout the bloc.But if that is not the case, producers who want to regain protection may have to reapply to the EU as a "third country" producer or take other steps such as applying for trade mark protection.

Ian Wright, chief executive of the Food and Drink Federation, said his industry would be hit by "ever more" administrative burdens.

He said: "Our politicians act as if they have six more months to conclude a withdrawal agreement.

"In fact, today's official confirmation of just how bad this scenario would be is bound to encourage businesses and shoppers to consider - now - stockpiling, buying ahead, hedging currency risk, procuring additional warehousing, relocating production to the EU, and other practical measures to secure supply".

  • Pets

There could be a four-month turnaround for securing a health certificate proving pets are effectively vaccinated for rabies. Credit: PA

Pet owners hoping to travel to Europe with their pets may face months of preparation before their trip under a no-deal Brexit.

Owners of cats, dogs and ferrets could have to discuss their plans with their vet at least four months in advance, depending on what category of "third country" the UK becomes if it quits the EU without a deal.

In its latest raft of no-deal technical notices, the Government said it was seeking discussions with the European Commission to allow the UK to become a "listed" third country.

Under the best case, this would mean little change in pet travel arrangements.

But if the UK crashes out without agreement and becomes an "unlisted" country on March 29, there could be a four-month turnaround for securing a health certificate proving pets are effectively vaccinated for rabies.

  • What did Brexit Secretary Domnic Raab have to say?

Mr Raab confirmed the Cabinet is united behind the Chequers deal following its meeting on Monday.

His comments come after the EU rebuffed Theresa May's Chequers plan.

He said: "We had a good, healthy discussion, the Prime Minister made clear we are going to keep our calm, hold our nerve, and press the EU on some of the criticisms that they have made.

"But, also, to be clear that there are no credible alternatives that the EU has come up with.

"So, we are going to hold our nerve, but continue to negotiate in good faith."

  • What have other politicians said about the Brexit negotiations so far?

From left, David Davis, Boris Johnson and Jacob Rees-Mogg backed the Brexit trade deal proposed by Institute of Economic Affairs think tank. Credit: PA

Leading Tory Brexiteers have urged the Prime Minister to strike a Canada style trade deal with the European Union.

The call came from Jacob Rees-Mogg at the launch event for a new Brexit blueprint by the free market Institute of Economic Affairs think tank (IEA).

David Davis, who quit as Brexit Secretary, also attended the launch of the IEA's report.

Prior to Mrs May's meeting with the cabinet, he said it was time to "reset" negotiations with Brussels.

"We're currently, bluntly, in a cul-de-sac, I'm afraid Salzburg was all too predictable," he said.

"Now what we need to do is to use the original commitments made back on March 7 by both (European Council president Donald) Tusk and (EU chief negotiator Michel) Barnier to go for an advanced free trade agreement."

However, the Prime Minister has ruled out moving towards a Canada-style deal, warning it would not prevent a hard border with the Republic of Ireland.

The former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson also backed the report as "a very good piece of work".