UK blames France as holidaymakers face hour-long delays
Britons going on holiday by ferry, along with lorry drivers, had to wait several hours at the port of Dover on Friday, with authorities blaming French officials for the chaos.
Authorities in Dover have said a lack of French border agents is leading to waits of up to six hours for border checks at the Channel port, with queues of tourists and goods rumbling the roads for miles (miles) around.
Millions of people in Britain are trying to start their holidays this weekend – the start of summer vacation for most schools – and face the threat of disruption by road, sea, rail and air.
UK port authorities said that despite months of work between the two countries to prepare for the peak travel season, the number of French border police “has been insufficient and is well below what is needed to ensure a smooth first weekend of peak summer”. escape period.
Since Britain left the European Union in 2020, British travelers have faced tighter border controls when traveling to the continent. At Dover, they are executed on the English side of the Channel by French personnel.
Port of Dover chief executive Doug Bannister said the port had declared a “critical incident”.
‘We were sorely disappointed this morning with the French border,’ he said, urging travelers to ‘consider not heading to port at this stage until more is known’ .
On Friday afternoon, port authorities said more French personnel had arrived “and traffic is slowly starting to move, but it will take some time to clear the backlog”.
Turkish lorry driver Muhammet Turker said he started queuing at his rig in Dover on Thursday evening and was still waiting 4pm later.
“I’ve been through something like this before, but this is the worst,” he said.
Ferry operator P&O urged travelers to “arrive prepared for an extended wait. Take snacks and extra water with you.
Protesters against high fuel prices also held roadblocks on Friday on roads to the South West of England, a popular holiday destination, although police said this caused no problems significant traffic.
The problems follow days of disruption to travel on Britain’s railways after a heat wave caused record high temperatures of 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) in the UK, warping tracks and sparking fires .
Railway workers also staged nationwide strikes last month in a dispute over wages and conditions, and plan more walkouts next week.
Air travel has also been hit, in Britain and around the world, as airlines and airports struggle to cope with the return of mass travel after two years of pandemic disruption.