New government policy now requires drivers to have a negative Covid test before travelling to ports. Costs of the tests will be met by government and businesses are encouraged to go through their local authority for the necessary equipment.
BEIS Minister Scully has written a letter to haulier firms outlining the new restrictions and providing guidance:
I am writing to ask for your assistance in ensuring that hauliers can move steadily across the border. The requirement for hauliers planning to cross the Channel to get a negative Covid-19 test before travelling to Kent or other Channel crossing points is set to continue, following a decision by the French Government on 7 January to keep the current measures in place until further notice. This requirement includes drivers and crew of HGVs, drivers of LGVs and van drivers.
Please discuss with any haulage companies you work with the plans that they have in place to ensure their hauliers have tested negative, conducted within 72 hours prior to travel, before travelling to the border. The Government has established 34 free Covid testing facilities at haulier advice sites as detailed at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/haulier-advice-site-locations. Despite these being in place, the majority of HGVs are still arriving at the Kent ports without having undertaken tests. As traffic volumes increase, this could lead to disruption, and delay goods crossing the border.
As capacity at the Government sites will be limited, I would also ask that you consider whether testing hauliers on your own premises, such as at your depots, might be a suitable arrangement to put in place. Several companies have found this to be a mutually beneficial arrangement. This does require some preparation, the acceptance of requirements on matters such as data sharing and risk, and you would need to provide people to administer the tests. The Department of Health and Social Care will provide lateral flow testing kits entirely free of charge until the end of March 2021 and support you in establishing testing facilities via webinars and Q&A sessions.
I am attaching some summary documentation on what the establishment of such a facility involves. If you would like to explore setting up testing for hauliers at your own premises, please contact email@example.com