Traffic at the Port of Dover is flowing back to ‘normal’ after days of long queues for holidaymakers led to travel chaos.
Additional post-Brexit border controls and understaffing of Dover checkpoints by French authorities have been blamed for the delays.
It’s one of the busiest times for international travel from the UK as most schools in England and Wales have left for the summer in recent days.
Here’s everything you need to know:
What’s the latest?
The port said on Twitter that at 2.15am on Sunday the system temporarily deployed to manage excessive traffic in the area had ended and traffic could proceed directly to the port.
The tweet read: “#TrafficUpdate in #PortofDover at 02:15am. TAP is switched off for freight traffic. The cargo can be transported directly to the port.
“Tourist traffic is also manageable in the port. The access roads to the port (A2 / A20) are normally flowing.”
Scenes of blocked roads and bumper cars seen on Friday were repeated on Saturday as thousands of travelers endured long queues and some truck drivers experienced waits of more than 18 hours.
What caused the queues?
The Port of Dover has attacked French authorities over “woefully inadequate” border control staff ruining summer holidays for thousands of families.
Passengers departing from Dover for crossings across the English Channel must clear French border controls before boarding a ferry.
The port said in a statement that it had increased the number of border control booths by 50 percent and shared traffic forecasts “in granular detail” with French authorities.
It continued: “Unfortunately, the resources of the PAF (Police aux Frontieres) were inadequate and fell far short of what is needed to ensure a smooth first weekend of the main summer holiday season.”
What did the port say?
Port chief Doug Bannister said: “We have a critical incident underway.”
He told BBC Radio Kent: “We were badly disappointed at the French border this morning.
“Insufficient resources and much slower than even normal transactions at the time, leading to significant congestion around the port this morning.”
He said it was going to be “a very difficult day” and that the situation had “escalated at the highest levels of our government”.
He added: “I would consider awaiting the trip to port at this stage until more is known.
“It’s really difficult to get into town this morning.”
In a statement Friday afternoon, the port said it was urging the UK government to “continue to work with French colleagues” to “adequately resource the border” throughout the summer, “to keep our community clean, families in to bring and hold the holiday essential trade move”.
The port advises on Twitter: “As Great Britain is no longer part of the European Union, holidaymakers are subject to increased controls at the border.
“To minimize delays, please only arrive for your allotted sailing time.”
Waiting times at the French border control are estimated to be between 60 and 90 minutes.
How did the French react?
French politician Pierre-Henri Dumont, Republican MP for Calais, has blamed Britain’s exit from the EU for delays. He told BBC News it was “a consequence of Brexit” that more controls were needed and claimed the Port of Dover was also “too small”. few kiosks due to lack of space.
Did P&O Ferries say anything?
Ferry operator P&O Ferries urged passengers to allow at least five hours to clear access roads and security checkpoints.
The company told passengers: “Please note that there is heavy traffic at Border Control at the Port of Dover.
“If you are traveling for today, please allow at least six hours to clear all security checks.”
Passengers are advised to carry extra water and snacks.