What is Operation Yellowhammer?

The British government has released a document, which is part of “Operation Yellowhammer”. It details its contingency plans, or “reasonable worst-case planning assumptions”.in the event of a no-deal brexit.

So, what is included in the document? And what is the government doing to prepare for no-deal?

Here’s what the document says about its plans for various areas:

Food supply

The document warns that no-deal could result in supply decreasing in certain types of fresh food, including some key ingredients. It says that, overall, there won’t be any food shortages, but there may be reduced availability and choice and there could be price increases.

Among preparations for this, many retailers are trying to prepare effectively by stocking up on dried foods. However, there may be a shortage of some products that aren’t usually produced in the UK, like certain types of fruit and vegetables.

The government says it will continue to recognise EU standards, making it easier to import food. It has also said it’s planning to remove most tariffs on imports, so food from outside the EU would be cheaper, but some products from within the EU would be more expensive.


The Operation Yellowhammer document says that no-deal could result in 50-80% of UK lorries not being ready for EU customs, and disruption in French ports that could last for several months. In addition, there could be long queues in Kent due to delays.

To prepare for this, the government says it would be enrolling companies automatically into a new customs system. It will also set up traffic systems to try and keep traffic flowing, such as a contraflow system and diverting lorries to Manston airfield in Ramsgate.

Health and medicine

For the health industry, the document warns that supply chains for medical products and medicines could be vulnerable if there’s disruption at the Channel ports. Some products can be stockpiled, but those with a short shelf-life could have a supply issue.

To try and reduce these risks, the Department of Health and Social Care has started hiring space to stockpile medicine that can be stored in warehouse spaces and fridges. There is also an emergency contract with an express freight service that could be used for emergency medical supplies.

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