Brexit to blame for ‘increased transaction times’ as Truss urges France to act – live

There will be increased transaction times at the border due to extra checks needed since Brexit, the chief executive of the Port of Dover has said, as Tory leadership hopeful Liz Truss called on France to act over “entirely avoidable” delays.

Doug Bannister said the country is in a “post-Brexit environment” and that means that extra checks need to be made and “capable people” to man the booths at Dover.

Meanwhile, the foreign secretary said the delays and queues were “unacceptable”, blaming a lack of staffing by the French at the border.

It comes after travellers got stuck in queues for up to six hours in the Port of Dover on Friday at the start of the summer school holidays – which led to the port declaring a “critical incident”.

Jack Cousens, head of roads policy for the AA, said: “As the schools closed their doors fully yesterday, Saturday could prove busier still this weekend.

“Drivers should continue to expect disruption and delays on major holiday routes to the south-west, eastern coast and ports of Dover and Folkestone.

“While many have decided to go at the start of the summer holidays, between now and the beginning of September when schools return, each Friday and Saturday will be busy on our roads because these are the main switchover days for holiday lets.”

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Simon Calder in Dover: Busiest day since 2019 begins with go-slow

Holidaymakers hoping to sail over from Dover to France on the busiest day since 2019 are facing queues for French border control of between one and two hours – after they make it into the port.

Doug Bannister, chief executive of the Port of Dover, told The Independent: “We are still trying to clear the significant backlog that arose from yesterday’s challenges.”

As the big weekend rush began on Friday, the port warned that holidays could be ruined because of “woefully inadequate” staffing by French border officials, the Police aux Frontières. The authorty declared a “‘critical incident”.

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P&O Ferries urges passengers to allow five hours for travel

Ferry operator P&O Ferries told passengers to allow at least five hours to clear the approach roads and security checks.

The ferry company said on Friday evening it expects Saturday to be “just as busy”.

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Increased transaction times at border due to Brexit, says Port of Dover chief executive

There will be increased transaction times at the border due to extra checks needed since Brexit, the chief executive of the Port of Dover has said.

Doug Bannister told the BBC Radio Four Today programme: “We are operating in a post-Brexit environment which does mean that passports need to be checked, they need to be stamped and indeed the capable people that do man the booths, police aux frontieres, they’re doing their job that they need to do now.”

He added that in a post-Brexit environment “there will be increased transaction times at the border” and that the port had “created more border capacity so that the overall throughput can be maintained”.

He said their modelling had shown that there will be some “very peak busy days during the summer season” but “for the most part we should be able to cope with the traffic”.

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Pictured: queues at Dover on Saturday morning

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Travellers can expect ‘very busy day’ on Saturday at Dover, says port chief

Travellers can expect another “very busy day” at Dover, the port’s chief executive has said.

Doug Bannister said some 10,000 cars are expected to be processed going out of the port on Saturday, up on Friday’s figure.

Asked if there could be five to six-hour delays for people at the port again on Saturday, he told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: “It could be. We were expecting that today was going to be a busier day than yesterday.

“Yesterday we processed about 8,500 cars going out. Today we were predicted to be around 10,000 so it is going to be a very busy day down here.”

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Labour accuses government of being ‘absent’ over Dover gridlock

Labour’s Nick Thomas-Symonds has accused the government of being “absent”, amid another day of gridlocked roads around Dover.

The shadow secretary of state for international trade told Times Radio: “What we really do need to see is a Government that is taking a grip of this situation.

“The Government has not been planning in advance. We were urging the Government, for example, some months ago to negotiate a veterinary agreement to reduce the number of checks. The Government has not done that, has not put the planning in place and yet again, we have a crisis where the Government is absent.”

He also hit out at Tory leadership candidates, telling the programme: “They’re now contained once again, in their own infighting whilst we have something like this critical incident we’ve been discussing in Dover where their focus is elsewhere.”

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‘Brexit to blame’ for travel gridlock at Dover, union says

This weekend’s traffic chaos in Dover is a “predictable” consequence of Brexit as France “takes back control” of its border, an immigration union chief has said.

An emergency incident has been declared at the Kent port as long queues are expected following queues of up to six hours on Friday and thousands of families attempt to get away at the start of the summer holiday season.

The gridlock has been blamed on a shortage of border control staff on the French side of the Channel.

But Immigration Services Union general secretary Lucy Moreton said that disruption of this kind was only to be expected following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.

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‘We’re expecting long, long delays’, says Tory MP

Conservative MP Natalie Elphicke has told Sky News that people heading to Dover could expect “long, long delays” on Saturday and blamed French border police for the chaos.

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Why Brexit made Dover gridlock inevitable

Pure Brexit took effect at 11pm, British time, on 31 December 2020. So why should the decision to leave the European Union suddenly be afflicting travellers who want to return to the EU, albeit temporarily on holiday?

Because this is the first real peak weekend for cross-Channel travellers from Dover since the Brexit transition phase ended.

The Channel crunch would have happened a year ago, were it not for the bizarre “amber plus” decision. This time last July the normal flood of British holidaymakers heading across to France reduced to a trickle as a result of the UK government’s invention of a new mandatory quarantine category for people returning back across the Channel.

Travellers from “amber” nations on the “traffic light” scale, including France, Spain and most of our other European favourites, were set to go quarantine-free as the main school holidays began for families in England and Wales.

But at 4am on 19 July 2021, France was placed in a newly created and short-lived category that required 10 days of self-isolation. Days before what would have been the peak weekend for departures, hundreds of thousands of holidaymakers tore up their plans to head across the Channel.

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Truss calls on France to act over ‘entirely avoidable’ delays at Dover

Liz Truss has called on France to act over “entirely avoidable” delays at the border as holidaymakers and lorry drivers face another day of gridlocked roads around Dover.

The foreign secretary said the delays and queues were “unacceptable”, blaming a lack of staffing by the French at the border. But a French politician blamed Brexit for the chaos.

Pierre-Henri Dumont, Republican MP for Calais, said the problems at the Kent port would reoccur, telling BBC News: “This is an aftermath of Brexit. We have to run more checks than before.”

A “critical incident” was declared by the port due to the queues, with tourists urged to consider staying away, and warnings that Saturday may be just as bad.

In a statement, Tory leadership hopeful Ms Truss said: “This awful situation should have been entirely avoidable and is unacceptable.

“We need action from France to build up capacity at the border to limit any further disruption for British tourists and to ensure this appalling situation is avoided in future.

“We will be working with the French authorities to find a solution.”

The chief executive of the Port of Dover said being “let down” by poor resourcing at the French border was “immensely frustrating”.