Cross-border agricultural trade could “virtually stop” in a no-deal Brexit, leaked documents from the UK government warn.

The documents, revealed by Sky News, are marked “Official sensitive – For discussion – Not government policy”.

It sets out what might happen in the first day, first fortnight and first month following a no-deal Brexit.

Under the heading “What this could look like on the ground”, the document warns that in Northern Ireland, “X-border trade virtually stops, other trade slows.”

Food shortages

In the first fortnight, it warns of “Potential consumer panic and food shortages, even in areas which are not directly affected at the border."

It also warns of possible friction at sea between UK/EU fishing vessels.”

Within the first month it warns that small businesses in Northern Ireland could face “distress and potential law and order challenges”.

The documents emerged on Thursday evening, hours after Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed called on agri-food businesses to make sure that they know exactly what they will need to do in a no-deal Brexit scenario and make the necessary preparations now.

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