Yellowhammer worst bits if UK plunges into no-deal chaos - from riots to shortages

Yellowhammer worst bits if UK plunges into no-deal chaos – from riots to shortages

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The secret contingency plan outlining the worst case scenarios of a no-deal Brexit has finally been released, causing outrage in Westminster.

Boris Johnson attempted to keep the Operation Yellowhammer file under wraps, however he backed down after the Commons passed a bill demanding details be released.

The six-page dossier, dated August 2, reveals that a no-deal Brexit could trigger a three-month meltdown at Britain’s ports.

It also predicts electricity price increases, shortages of fuel and some foods, delays to medicine imports, lorry delays of between one-and-a-half and two-and-a-half days at Dover and public disorder.

The Government insists that the plan outlines the ‘worst case scenario’ of a no-deal Brexit, although others claim it is a realistic prediction of what will happen if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

A Whitehall source previously told the Sunday Times: “This is not Project Fear – this is the most realistic assessment of what the public face with no deal. These are likely, basic, reasonable scenarios – not the worst case.”

Traffic jams at the border could result in fuel shortages in some areas of the UK after a no-deal Brexit

Here are the worst bits of Operation Yellowhammer:


Certain fresh food supplies will decrease and critical key ingredients for the food supply chain may be in shorter supply.

While this will not cause an overall food shortage, it is expected to result in less products being available and price increases.

The plan notes that this could affect vulnerable members of society, echoing Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s warning that Boris Johnson “is prepared to punish those who can least afford it with a no-deal Brexit”.

The file also warns that there could be panic buying, potentially exacerbating food supply issues.

Operation Yellowhammer warns of decreased fresh food supplies


The plan states that the ‘most significant risk’ is a breakdown in the chemical supply chain in relation to public water services.

Although it claims this outcome is unlikely, the dossier warns it could affect hundreds-of-thousands of people.

Water companies have apparently stocked up on chemicals in anticipation of a no-deal Brexit.

Operation Yellowhammer states that urgent action may have to be taken to ensure people have access to clean water.

Chemical supply issues with water companies could affect hundreds-of-thousands of people


Protests and counter protests will grip the UK after a no-deal Brexit, potentially taking up huge amounts of police time.

There also may be a spike in public disorder and community tensions, the dossier states.

Criminality arising from a no-deal Brexit could also lead to violent disputes and port blockades.

This could result from repeated incidents such as illegal fishing or people smuggling.

Protests and counter protests will drain police resources


Traffic chaos

Traffic jams will build up in Kent as a result of channel crossing delays in Dover.

The plan warns of serious issues if queues of vehicles end up blocking the Dartford crossing, disrupting fuel deliveries to London and south-east England.

Fuel shortages could also be caused by changes in ‘customer behaviour’, the plan warns.

The chaos at the Dover crossing could result in lorries facing waiting up to two-and-a-half days to get into the UK.

Lorries could face delays of up to three days



Drivers will face delays of four hours and above at the busy Spanish border with the British territory.

The waits will be the result of the introduction of border checks, causing disruption to the supply of food, medicines and waste in Gibraltar.

The lengthy delays are likely to last for at least a few months, affecting workers, residents and tourists crossing the border.

In the long-run the changes will likely harm Gibraltar’s economy, the plan warns.

Gibraltar’s economy will likely suffer from a no-deal Brexit


Northern Ireland

Operation Yellowhammer warns that a no-deal Brexit will result in a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, strengthening the hand of criminals and dissident groups.

It predicts that the introduction of EU tariffs and regulations on goods entering Ireland will ‘severely disrupt trade’.

The agri-food sector will be hardest hit due to its reliance on cross-border trade, the plan states.

The dossier says the disruption and unemployment caused by a no-deal Brexit will likely lead to protests and direct action in Northern Ireland.

A hard border will strengthen criminals and dissident groups in Northern Ireland



The presence of EU fishing boats in UK waters is likely to enrage British fishermen, potentially causing clashes between vessels.

This could also lead to British fish tugs going rogue and moving into EU waters.

British fishermen may clash with EU vessels if they illegally enter UK waters

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Up to 282 EU boats could illegally enter – or already be in – UK waters in the event of a no-deal Brexit, the plan predicts.

Increased demands on police and border authorities is likely to reduce the effectiveness of these agencies.

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