There are once again huge queues of lorries in Kent with Christmas stockpiling and Brexit uncertainty causing huge queues.

A long line of HGVs stretched up to five miles on the M20 as freight drivers headed for the Eurotunnel.

The latest delays came as the UK marked less than two weeks until 2021 and the end of the Brexit transition period.

Businesses, in a bid to avoid cross-Channel disruption in January, are stockpiling goods before the new year, in addition to the usual Christmas rush.

On Saturday morning the queue along the left-hand lane of the motorway strecthed several miles to the Eurotunnel entrance at Folkestone.

There were also long lines of HGVs along the M20 between Capel-le-Ferne – the site of the Battle of Britain memorial on the White Cliffs – to the port of Dover.

A deal has yet to be struck between the UK and the EU, which has led to uncertainty among traders and fears that as many as 60% of Kent businesses are not prepared for a no-deal Brexit.

Lorries without the proper paperwork could be turned away from the border from January 1.

But Port of Dover chief executive Doug Bannister told the PA news agency on Friday that he was confident Dover would be able to handle any uncertainty.

He said: “Dover has a proven track record to handle disruption in a good, successful way, and we are able to manage the disruption and importantly recover the position very swiftly indeed.”

Mr Bannister added that increased freight ahead of December 31 means the first weeks of 2021 could be calmer.

Irish deputy premier Leo Varadkar has said port queues at Holyhead are likely due to stockpiling.

However, the Tanaiste warned that delays were likely on ferry travel between Ireland and Britain regardless of whether a UK/EU trade deal is struck or not.

“I think it’s likely that any delays at the ports that are happening at the moment are related to stockpiling, a lot of businesses are going to want to fill their warehouses in advance of there being a deal or no deal as the case may be when it comes to Brexit,” he told a press conference after Friday’s meeting of the North South Ministerial Council.

“So we did anticipate that there would be some delays, largely related to stockpiling and businesses prudently wanting to fill their warehouses at this time.

“In terms of disruption in the new year, we’re preparing for that. There will be some, of course there will. There’s going to be new checks, new controls. Of course there will be delays and people will have to get used to new procedures and some people may not have their documents filled in and, yes, of course there are going to be difficulties in the new year, but we’re doing everything we can to reduce them and mitigate against them.”