Focus on long-term export options

As plans for ‘quick to market’ routes for vehicles carrying key consignments, including fresh produce, get underway, Scotland’s Fisheries and Food Secretary Richard Lochhead has urged the UK Government to continue to push for a long-term solution to situation in Calais.

Scottish Government officials, including Transport Scotland, will hold further talks with industry stakeholders on Thursday on long-term potential alternative routes to market following recent disruption and delays at the Channel Tunnel and Port of Dover.

Mr Lochhead said:

“Introduction of a ‘quick to market’ pilot is a major step forward and we will assess its effectiveness in co-operation with Scottish exporters in the weeks ahead. A fast-track for fresh produce and other key consignments is real progress but there is still a need to have a contingency plan in the case of continued disruption and delays in Calais.

“With no end to the complex situation at Calais yet in sight, I am keen that the Scottish Government continues to investigate alternative route options for Scottish businesses and holiday makers. Further talks are in place for tomorrow (Thursday) bringing together stakeholders from the food processing and transport sectors to discuss next steps.

“Despite the situation at the Channel Tunnel and Port of Dover, Scotland is very much open for business and we should take this opportunity to consider how various transport systems, including Scotland’s network of ports and airports, can play their part in mitigating the difficulties we have seen.

“The situation in Calais remains difficult and requires a multi-agency response involving both the UK and French authorities. The Scottish Government remains particularly concerned about the humanitarian situation in relation to migrants and will urge the UK to play its part in a co-ordinated and comprehensive EU plan of action in order to deal with the serious and pressing issues around the migrant crisis.”

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