As it happenedended1681033643

Dover queues – live: Roads ‘extremely busy’ as passengers urged to bring supplies

High volume of traffic builds at port entrance

Queues of traffic pile up at the Port of Dover during Easter weekend getaway

Huge queues of holidaymakers are waiting on “extremely busy roads” close to the Port of Dover amid warnings of 90-minute delays.

Cars could be seen snaking from the Kent port to the nearby town after 11am on Good Friday, with lorries thought to be stretching back further.

P&O Ferries and operator DFDS were reporting delays of between 60 and 90 minutes to the port’s entrance while Irish Ferries advised people to allow up to three hours before their travel time.

Drivers have been advised to bring supplies in case they are left waiting for hours, with queues expected to lengthen in the early afternoon.

Doug Bannister, chief executive of the Port of Dover, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “It’s going to be a busy day, we’re running probably about an hour to an hour and a half to get through border controls at the moment, and we will peak through probably early afternoon, and then it will start to slow down after that.”

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Huge queue of cars stretching back from Dover port

Huge queues of holidaymakers are waiting on “extremely busy roads” close to the Port of Dover amid warnings of 90-minute delays.

Cars could be seen snaking from the Kent port to the nearby town after 11am on Good Friday, with lorries thought to be stretching back further.

P&O Ferries and operator DFDS were reporting delays of between 60 and 90 minutes to the port’s entrance while Irish Ferries advised people to allow up to three hours before their travel time.

Drivers have been advised to bring supplies in case they are left waiting for hours, with queues expected to lengthen in the early afternoon.

Doug Bannister, chief executive of the Port of Dover, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “First of all, the weather’s clear, the ferries are sailing well, and all that sort of stuff, this weekend was always scheduled to be about 30% lighter than last weekend, today being the busier day.

“What we did is we worked with our ferry operators to try and spread the demand across the three days rather than all on this day.

“I know that that’s challenging for the coach industry because they have itineraries that they want to maintain, but they’ve worked with the ferry operators to be able to do that, and that’s been successful.

“We’ve also installed a new facility to expand our processing at the borders for coaches, that’s operational, I just saw one goes through in just shy of 10 minutes.

“It’s going to be a busy day, we’re running probably about an hour to an hour and a half to get through border controls at the moment, and we will peak through probably early afternoon, and then it will start to slow down after that.”

Maryam Zakir-Hussain7 April 2023 12:23
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Welcome...

...to our liveblog where we will keep you updated on the latest on Dover travel.

Maryam Zakir-Hussain6 April 2023 11:40
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Queues of around 90 minutes at Dover ahead of Easter weekend

Holidaymakers booked on cross-Channel ferries from the Port of Dover are facing delays at the start of the Easter getaway.

There are queues of “approximately 90 minutes” for passport checks by French officials at the Kent port, ferry operator DFDS wrote on Twitter.

The company told passengers: “Unfortunately due to high volumes of traffic there are queues at border controls.

“Once you arrive at check-in we will get you away as quick as we can.”

In response, one passenger wrote: “We have been standing for 50 minutes. No movement whatsoever.”

There are fears travellers at Dover will face more disruption after chaotic scenes last weekend when thousands of people were delayed, reportedly by up to 14 hours.

Delays at the port have been blamed on French border officials carrying out extra checks and stamping UK passports following Brexit.

Port officials said they held a “urgent review” with ferry operators and the French authorities in an attempt to avoid a repeat of last weekend’s delays.

Ferry companies are asking coach operators booked on sailings on Good Friday - expected to be the busiest day for outbound Easter travel from Dover - to “spread the travel” across the three-day period from Thursday to Saturday.

Additional “temporary border control infrastructure” has also been installed.

Transport minister Richard Holden described last weekend’s conditions at Dover as “unacceptable”.

He told Sky News: “I don’t want to see kids on coaches or families in cars queueing up and waiting unnecessarily long periods of time.”

Asked who should apologise for the situation, he added: “The port have made it clear that there is a difficult situation there, but there were some weather-related issues in the Channel as well, and there are going to be pinch points at peak times of the year, and small things can knock those best-laid plans off as well.”

Maryam Zakir-Hussain6 April 2023 11:41
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In pictures: Traffic queues at Port of Dover as Easter getaways begin

As Easter weekend gets underway, the RAC is predicting that up to 17 million leisure trips by car will take place between Good Friday and Easter Monday.

Maryam Zakir-Hussain6 April 2023 11:44
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Dover port chief contradicts Brexiteer MPs who blamed France for coach delays

The boss of the Port of Dover has contradicted claims by senior Tory MPs that French frontier officials were responsible for border hold-ups at the start of the Easter school holidays.

Doug Bannister, chief executive of the UK’s main departure point for continental Europe, said the Police aux Frontieres had been “very, very good” at responding to the build-up of traffic last weekend.

Tens of thousands of travellers queued for 12 hours or more ahead of ferry journeys to France as a post-Covid surge of coach trips came up against tougher post-Brexit border checks.

After the backlog was cleared in the early hours of Monday morning, Tim Loughton – a former chair of the home affairs select committee – blamed short staffing among French border officials.

Out travel correspondent Simon Calder reports:

Dover port chief contradicts Brexiteer MPs who blamed France for coach delays

Exclusive: ‘When they knew we were having challenges, they actually turned up with more people to better support us’

Maryam Zakir-Hussain6 April 2023 11:52
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How deluded must you be to believe Dover wasn’t about Brexit (now even No10 admits it)

The more the likes of Suella Braverman try to gaslight us to believe otherwise, the more insult is added to economic injury, Sean O’Grady writes.

In a crowded field, there is no other figure in public life who lives in a bubble of their own making to the same extent as Suella Braverman. Quite apart from the abject folly and failures of her Rwanda policy, her statements around grooming gangs and her economically illiterate attitude to migration, we find she is also suffering from the Brexit Delusion. No surprise, there.

According to the home secretary, who never seems quite on top of her brief, the massive queues at Dover are nothing at all to do with Brexit:

“No, I don’t think that’s fair to say that this has been an adverse effect of Brexit. We’ve had many years now since leaving the European Union and there’s been, on the whole, very good operations and processes at the border.”

How deluded must you be to believe Dover queues were not about Brexit? | Sean O’Grady

The more the likes of Suella Braverman try to gaslight us to believe otherwise, the more insult is added to economic injury

Maryam Zakir-Hussain6 April 2023 12:09
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Travel disruption rips through France as queues build at Dover port

As well as delays at the Port of Dover, a general strike in France in a row over pension reforms is causing further travel disruption.

Many flights to, from and over France have been grounded due to air traffic controllers joining the walkout.

British Airways axed at least 20 flights which would have used French airspace on Thursday.

Eurostar cancelled a train in both directions between London and Paris.

Meanwhile, drivers have been warned to expect long delays on popular routes over the coming days.

The RAC is predicting that up to 17 million leisure trips by car will take place between Good Friday and Easter Monday.

Major roads in south-west England and some in the Home Counties are likely to experience the worst congestion on Good Friday.

Queues are likely to be increased by engineering work on the railways, including the closure of London Euston station over the bank holiday weekend.

Maryam Zakir-Hussain6 April 2023 12:25
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Coach firms ‘treated unfairly’ during Dover disruption

Coach operators have claimed their vehicles were “treated unfairly” after thousands of passengers were stranded at the Port of Dover for up to 24 hours over the weekend.

Trade association the Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT) called for “crisis talks” with the Government, the Kent port and ferry companies to “resolve this mess once and for all”.

Many holidaymakers travelling by coach during the weekend – the start of the Easter holiday period for many schools – were delayed entering the port and being processed.

The queues had cleared by Monday morning but there are fears the congestion could return during other peak periods due to French border officials carrying out extra checks and stamping UK passports following Brexit.

Coach firms ‘treated unfairly’ during Dover disruption

Many holidaymakers travelling by coach during the weekend were delayed entering the Kent port and being processed.

Maryam Zakir-Hussain6 April 2023 12:48
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More chaos for Easter holidaymakers as French protests block traffic

Easter holidaymakers bound for Europe are already mired in stifling travel delays after French protesters launched another day of industrial action.

France is the latest popular European destination to be hit by walkouts, with strike action in the UK, Portugal and Spain threatening to inflame rampant delays and cancellations.

Travel chaos has broken out on both sides of the channel, as French protestors blocked traffic around a mile from Paris Charles de Gaulle airport early on Thursday morning, forcing travellers to walk.

British Airways grounded around 20 flights that would have used French airspace as nationwide air traffic control strikes erupted across France.

Meanwhile, long queues have already formed for ferries at the port of Dover, with operator DFDS tweeting that the wait for passport checks by French officials is “up to 90 minutes”.

Emily Atkinson6 April 2023 13:44
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Holidaymakers face more travel chaos as queues build up at Dover ahead of Easter weekend

Millions of Britons are facing travel chaos this weekend with flights grounded, trains cancelled and traffic already building up at Dover as the Easter weekend getaway begins.

The four days between Good Friday to Easter Monday are expected to be the busiest since 2019, with post-Brexit passport checks, rail works and strikes in France all set to cause delays for travellers.

On Thursday morning, holidaymakers booked on cross-Channel ferries from Dover were already facing queues of 90 minutes for passport checks by French officials due to a “high volume” of traffic.

Read travel correspondent Simon Calder’s latest report here:

More travel chaos as queues build up at Dover ahead of Easter weekend

Wait for passport checks hits 90 minutes as national strike in France grounds flights

Emily Atkinson6 April 2023 13:53

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