EU transition

Kent Resilience Forum threat and risk assessment


The United Kingdom formally exited the European Union on 31 January 2020 and entered a transition period until 23:00 (GMT) on 31 December 2020. During the transition period, the UK will continue to be treated as a Member State and no new border controls will be implemented.

When the transition period ends, new border controls and checks will be implemented which will impact the short Channel crossings. If no formal trade agreement between the UK and EU is in place at the end of the transition period, the UK will be treated by the EU as a third country and will be subject to full third country controls and a variety of border checks. Even if a trade agreement is reached, new customs declarations and some new border checks will still be required.

Any additional border controls will have a direct impact on Kent from 01 January 2021, in terms of the increased likelihood of disruption to the short straits and the need for multi-agency management of the consequences.

Planning assumptions

On 23 September 2020, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster announced the reasonable worst case scenario (RWCS) planning assumptions for EU Transition.

On 01 January 2021, the RWCS is that 40-70% of trucks travelling to the EU might not be ready for new border controls. For the short Channel crossings via Dover and Eurotunnel, 30-50% of trucks might not be border ready when taking into account empty trucks that will not have the same border requirements.


The lack of capacity to hold unready trucks at the French ports, or to turn away freight prior to boarding in the UK, could reduce the flow rate to 60-80% of normal levels at the bottom end of the readiness range. This could lead to maximum queues of 7,000 port bound trucks in Kent and associated maximum delays of up to two days.

Kent continues to work with Government departments to ensure that risks associated with the end of the transition period are understood and managed, and that any associated impacts are mitigated and managed.


Threat and risk assessment

The Kent Resilience Forum (KRF) Risk Assessment Group has reviewed the Kent Community Risk Register and identified some local risk assessments that will need to be monitored as the impacts of the worst case scenario of EU Transition are realised.


The local risk assessments have been reviewed and this has provided assurance that the KRF has the capabilities in place to respond to the risks outlined below and shown in the local risk assessment table . There has been no increase to the likelihood or impact of these risks and the Kent Resilience Forum has extensive and robust plans in place to respond.​

Local risk assessments:


Minor impacts: 

  • Maritime accident or deliberate blockade - medium/low likelihood

  • Animal disease - medium likelihood

  • Transport accident, unknown vessels - medium likelihood

  • Industrial action - high likelihood

  • Public disorder - high likelihood

Moderate impacts:

  • Transport accident, rail - medium/low likelihood

  • Plant health - medium likelihood

  • Food supply contamination -medium/high likelihood

  • Transport accident, road - medium/high likelihood

Risk assessment table:

Local threats and risks assessment diagram image and text

New risk

As part of the KRF’s previous assessment of threat and risk surrounding a potential ‘no deal’ Brexit scenario, one new Local Risk Assessment was completed and it has informed the ongoing work of the KRF to respond to the impacts EU Transition.


Risk title:

Prolonged disruption of one or more channel crossing routes for a period of more than three months.


Risk level:

Very high



This risk relates to potential disruption at the border,  which may cause delays at the Port of Dover and Eurotunnel.

The Port of Dover and the Channel Tunnel are facilities of national importance. As the shortest crossing point between the UK and mainland Europe, the Dover Straits ports (Dover, Channel Tunnel) account for 69% of all goods vehicles and 89% of all powered goods vehicles that travel between the UK and mainland (Freight fluidity for UK gateways to Europe paper 2015).

Prolonged disruption to one or more channel crossing could have the following impacts:

  • Traffic – disruption on the major and minor road network;

  • Environmental – noise, air pollution and waste stockpiling;

  • Economic – impact on local businesses and the tourist industry;

  • Medicines & consumables – distribution of medication within NHS around the county along with supply chain and medication from outside of the UK;

  • Supply chain – businesses within Kent that supply EU countries or receive goods from EU/non-EU countries may have a delay in import and export, including food, medicines and medical consumables.

KRF has robust plans in place across the partnership to mitigate the impact of this risk on Kent’s communities, businesses, KRF responders and wider partners. These plans will ensure that partners can respond to adverse impacts as well as continue to deliver their most critical services.

More information on KRF threat and risk assessments can be found on our Kent community risk register page.