No-deal Brexit could force Kent schools into ‘lockdown’ due to air pollution from traffic congestion

'It is prudent that schools begin to plan for possibility of disruption following Brexit'

Eleanor Busby
Education Correspondent
Wednesday 23 January 2019 12:20
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Schools in Kent have been warned that air pollution could be so bad from traffic congestion after a no-deal Brexit that they could be forced to go into “lockdown”.

Advice to schools, issued by Kent County Council, outlines what headteachers should do to prepare for Britain leaving the European Union without a formal agreement at the end of March.

The guidance suggests that a no-deal Brexit could bring severe traffic congestion to the major roads in the county, resulting in potential teacher shortages, disruption to exams and school lockdowns.

Disruption could last for several months in Kent, the country council document warns. And if the traffic becomes very heavy, schools could be forced to close amid staff shortages.

The advice calls on schools to consider planning for “possible lockdown if air quality deteriorates”, as well as “additional security” and “road safety” with the increased traffic and “impatience of drivers”.

It adds that supply chains, including deliveries of food, fuel and medicines, could be disrupted.

The council warns than an increase in border checks at the Channel ports and Eurotunnel could result in a “slowdown of operations and build-up of freight” causing “severe network congestion”.

Matt Dunkley, Kent County Council’s director for children, young people and education, said: “As we get nearer to the date that the government has determined we leave the European Union, it is prudent that schools, PRUs and early years settings begin to plan for the possibility of disruption that might follow our departure.”

He added: “It may be that there is no disruption but I believe that the suggested preparation would be beneficial in other areas of resilience planning, including the possibility of disruption from extreme weather.”

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