BRITAIN’S no-deal Brexit plans came to life yesterday as 89 lorries practised queueing up in Kent.

There were supposed to be 150 taking part in what was a dry run for the chaos at Britain’s ports if no agreement can be reached between London and Brussels, but many didn’t turn up.

Those who did took part in two test runs from the disused Manston Airport – shut down by Stagecoach boss Ann Gloag two years ago after she bought it for a £1 – near Ramsgate in Kent, on a 20-mile route to the Port of Dover. Civil servants hope that in the worst case scenario it could be used to park 6000 lorries.

The experiment was dismissed by the Road Haulage Association (RHA), who pointed out that any queuing caused by Brexit border checks would mean thousands, not dozens, of trucks waiting.

Rod McKenzie, the managing director of policy at the RHA, said: “Critics might call it window dressing. With 89 trucks, in no way can it replicate a potential 6000 trucks that might need to be held in or around Kent and Manston.

“This planning should have been done many months ago, and preferably on a bigger scale. It should have been continuous and stress-tested, I doubt many truck drivers will be impressed by this.”

Not all the drivers were impressed.

“It’s a waste of time. They should have done it in rush-hour. You can see the traffic here is just average. This is not what it will be like in no-deal,” Adam Carter, a driver with Int Logistics said.

“To be honest, it was a waste of time. At least they have done something and it worked, but 80 trucks from our point of view isn’t testing the system,” said David Martin, who is also a driver with Int Logistics.

But driver Ben Pearce, was more positive. He told the BBC that the test was “going quite well”.

He added: “It will give them a fair idea how the traffic will behave if they do use the space as a holding bay.”

While Hard Brexiteers insist no deal means no checks at Dover, French authorities have warned that 100% of food and livestock will have to be inspected.

Calais politician Xavier Bertrand previously said a two-minute delay would lead to a 27,000-strong queue on both sides of the channel.

Yesterday, Dover MP Charlie

Elphicke, also questioned the usefulness of the test.

“We’ve got to remember 10,000 lorries visit the Channel ports every single day so a test with less than 100 is not even a drop in the ocean,” he said.

The Tory, who was suspended in 2017 after accusations of sexual harassment, and then recently un-suspended by the party so he could vote for Theresa May in the no-confidence vote, added: “Sending lorries around Kent on a wild goose chase all the way to Manston in the extreme north-east corner and then sending them to the Port of Dover by a small A road is not the right answer.”

Toby Howe, from Kent County Council, defended the practice run.

“What we’re learning from

this is not based on 1000 lorries or whatever. What we want to know is how quickly they can actually get out of the airport behind us and how quickly they will get to the various points on the stage.

“So whether it’s 10 lorries, 20 lorries,

100 lorries, that will give us enough information and will give the Department for Transport enough information to then learn from that.”