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Start of holidays in England: Dover becomes the bottleneck for holidaymakers

As of: 07/29/2022 6:07 p.m

British holidaymakers have to wait up to 20 hours to leave France – because of Brexit, all passports have to be stamped. The British and French blame each other for the chaos.

By Mareike Aden, ARD Studio London

Ferry providers on the English Channel are already issuing warnings for the weekend: Passengers who want to travel from the southern English port of Dover to mainland Europe should plan at least two hours for check-in and border controls. Demand will continue to increase. With all English schools now on their summer holidays, a particularly large number of travelers are expected this weekend. It is the first major wave of travel since the end of the pandemic-related travel restrictions.

Miles of traffic jams, 20 hours of waiting

Last weekend, the port of Dover declared an emergency: traffic on the access roads had come to a complete standstill, especially last Saturday. There were also kilometers of traffic jams on the way to the Eurotunnel, the car train that departs from Folkstone in southern England.

In extreme cases, families have reported waiting times of more than 20 hours. Waiting times for lorries were on average even longer than for cars, according to a spokeswoman for the British Haulage Association.

The reason for the delays are the additional border controls required: Since Great Britain left the EU, British passports have to be stamped when entering the EU – like those from other third countries. Checks take place before departure from Dover or Folkstone.

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Brits blame France

The British side blamed the French authorities for the waiting times: they did not send enough inspectors. The French authorities admitted that there were staff shortages at the beginning of last weekend – also due to Covid. However, you have increased.

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, who is currently running for the post of British Prime Minister in an internal party competition, rejected that Brexit had anything to do with the waiting times. She urged France to do something “to resolve the appalling situation that travelers, including families, are facing.”

The French Ministry of Transport said the authorities were “mobilized” to facilitate traffic. However, France is “not responsible for Brexit”.

Fear of renewed travel chaos in Dover

Mareike Aden, ARD London, 29.7.2022 5:21 p.m

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