Tourists face English Channel wait with Brexit and French officials blamed

Queue of cars at check-in at Port of Dover (PA) (PA Wire)

Queue of cars at check-in at Port of Dover (PA) (PA Wire)

Tourists still face long waits to cross the Channel as trucks remain idle after a second day of travel chaos.

Extra post-Brexit border checks and a shortage of French authorities at checkpoints in Dover were blamed for the delays.

Scenes of gridlocked roads and bumper cars seen on Friday were repeated on Saturday, as thousands of travelers faced long lines and some truck drivers saw waits of more than 18 hours.

Cars queue at check-in at the Port of Dover in Kent (Gareth Fuller/PA) (PA Wire)

Cars queue at check-in at the Port of Dover in Kent (Gareth Fuller/PA) (PA Wire)

It takes place during one of the busiest periods for UK travel abroad, as most schools in England and Wales have disbanded in the summer.

Foreign Secretary and hopeful Conservative leadership Liz Truss said the disruption at the port of Dover was the fault of French officials when asked whether Brexit was the reason for the transport chaos.

Speaking on a campaign visit to Kent, she said: “This is a situation caused by a lack of resources at the border.

“And that’s what the French authorities need to address and that’s what I’m being very clear with them about.”

Drivers warned of longer hour-long queues (Gareth Fuller/PA) (PA Wire)

Drivers warned of longer hour-long queues (Gareth Fuller/PA) (PA Wire)

Later, the Office of Foreign Affairs, Commonwealth and Development tweeted a statement from Truss, announcing that she had spoken with French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna.

She said: “It was clear that the French authorities did not put enough people at the border and we need to see action from then on to address the dire situation that travelers, including families, are facing.”

The message followed a tweet from Colonna, who claimed the pair had a “good conversation”.

Mrs. Colonna added: “We welcome cooperation between our competent technical services to reduce delays. It also needs to improve the facilities at the port of Dover.”

But French politician Pierre-Henri Dumont, a Republican MP for Calais, blamed the delays in the UK’s departure from the EU, telling BBC News it was “a consequence of Brexit” with further checks needed and claiming that the port of Dover is “a consequence of Brexit”. too small” with few kiosks due to lack of space.

Passengers embarking on Channel crossings from Dover must clear French border controls before they can board a ferry.

Port authorities said they were “relieved that French border personnel (Police Aux Frontieres) have been fully mobilized at French border controls at Dover.”

Port of Dover Chief Executive Doug Bannister said it was “immensely frustrating” to be “disappointed” by the lack of resources at the French border and also stated that there will be “increased transaction times” at the border due to extra checks needed.

Traffic jams leading to ferry port in Dover (Gareth Fuller/PA) (PA Wire)

Traffic jams leading to ferry port in Dover (Gareth Fuller/PA) (PA Wire)

He later said he welcomed the “commitment shown by the French and British authorities to resolve the problem” and added that the necessary staffing levels must be maintained for the rest of the summer.

Natalie Chapman of shipping group Logistics UK echoed concerns about French staff numbers and Brexit changes.

She said: “As I said, the cause was a lack of resources yesterday, but also, of course, it takes a lot longer to process traffic than it used to.

“You used to, before Brexit, just wave your passport and they may or may not be seen, but now they are all checked and stamped.”

Tourist Angie Emrys-Jones and four family members, including three children, queued for nearly 11 hours and were not able to board the Eurotunnel until 4:15 pm – having joined the queue at 5:30 am.

The 46-year-old from Cornwall said the family was “fed up” and still had a 16-hour journey ahead of them to Umbria, Italy.

While those queuing to cross the Channel still faced three to four hour waits around 5 pm, congestion on many routes in the Southeast was cleared, according to the AA.

An AA Route Planner traffic advisory was still being issued for tourists heading to the Port of Dover and the Eurotunnel terminal at Folkestone, while a backlog of cargo still needed to be cleared.

However, the AA predicted that the roads would be much quieter on Sunday.

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