Britain’s Road Haulage Association (RHA) has called on members of the UK Parliament to avoid what it terms as the “disaster of a cliff edge Brexit.”

In a letter to MPs, RHA’s chief executive, Richard Burnett and national chairman, Andrew Howard, warned business will not be ready by 29 March when the UK is due to exit the European Union and said a transition period is essential to help industry adapt to new arrangements and regulations.

“An implementation period gives time for vital new processes and systems to be put in place across the supply chain such as efficient new border technology to avoid disastrous queues at Channel and North Sea ports and across the border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic,” noted an RHA statement.

Burnett and Howard cited “complacent failure” across government departments for a lack of understanding of the role haulage plays in the economy.

Eleven thousand lorries cross the Channel each day, with the RHA maintaining a two-minute customs check would lead to a 20-mile traffic jam.

“If preparations for customs and other border tasks were under control we would not be needing massive holding areas for lorries and would not need back-up ferry services,” added the RHA.