War games to mock up worst-case scenarios for No Deal Brexit

Operation Capstone: War games to mock up worst-case scenarios and test country’s readiness for No Deal Brexit will be carried out THIS WEEK

  • War games codenamed ‘Operation Capstone’ will test the UK’s readiness 
  • It is one of  the biggest peacetime operations to help keep the country moving 
  • An extensive operation will be rolled out if the UK leaves the EU with a deal or not

Christmas leave will be cancelled for officials and hundreds of border staff deployed under government preparations for a No Deal Brexit which will begin this week.

War games codenamed ‘Operation Capstone’, which will mock up the worst-case scenarios, will test the country’s readiness on Wednesday.

Officials will test border disruption and fishing boats entering the UK’s waters illegally.

In one of the biggest peacetime operations, the combined forces of the police, border guards, customs officials and military personnel will help keep the UK moving.

An extensive operation months in the planning will be rolled out whether Britain leaves the EU with a deal or not. The plan includes seven inland sites to handle extra border checks away from ports to keep lorries moving.

In one of the biggest peacetime operations, the combined forces of the police, border guards, customs officials and military personnel will help keep the UK moving

Four Royal Navy vessels will also be deployed off the coast to stop French trawlers fishing in British waters if there is no deal

A 27-acre lorry park off the M20 will be opened in case of huge queues caused by lengthy border checks at Dover. A bespoke app will also be rolled out to help hauliers know which site they need to go to.

Up to 900 extra officials will try to smooth over processes at the border, checking lorries and enforcing new import controls.

According to the Sun on Sunday, Christmas leave will be cancelled for senior officials carrying out particularly sensitive and important roles.

Some 14,000 military personnel on standby to help could also have their leave put on hold if they are needed.

Hundreds of extra police could be drafted in to Kent to stop smugglers exploiting the situation by sending migrants across the Channel.

As revealed on Saturday, four Royal Navy vessels will also be deployed off the coast to stop French trawlers fishing in British waters if there is no deal. The Navy will have the power to arrest French and other EU fishermen who illegally enter Britain’s waters.

In any scenario, the UK Government is bringing in a Fish Export Service which will issue validated catch certificates free of charge and offer round the clock technical support.

A 27-acre lorry park off the M20 will be opened in case of huge queues caused by lengthy border checks at Dover

There will be more than 20 helplines for tourists, businesses and other sectors needing advice amid concerns the public could be baffled by the changes. Cabinet minister Michael Gove has been overseeing a series of dummy runs over the last year. Officials have tried to play out all foreseeable scenarios with minister-approved responses so they can be put into action quickly.

One plan will see between 70 and 100 lorries of perishable goods per day fast-tracked so they do not have to queue in long tailbacks.

A senior Government source said: ‘These plans work in real life – not just on paper. We’ve run live exercises, moving fresh produce and fish across the border, and scrambled naval vessels to respond to threats of illegal fishing in our soon-to-be sovereign waters.

‘We’ve tested our traffic management plans and are confident that we have the tools to mitigate disruption at the border which will inevitably occur in the early weeks as traders adjust to the new requirements.’ Some 14,000 personnel are on standby to help with the rollout of coronavirus vaccines and any bad turn of weather.

Analysts have suggested No Deal would wipe around £45billion off the value of the UK’s economy in 2021. A WTO Brexit could result in tariffs and quotas being imposed on business with the EU, which is the UK’s largest trading partner.

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