Families started the summer holiday season over the weekend and many using the Ferry terminal at Dover had a six-hour delay due to border control checks. French authorities blamed Brexit for the additional work needed and additional checks which slowed down the processing, while British ministers blamed French authorities for not supplying enough staff.
The French Transport Minister Clement Beune said “France is not responsible for Brexit” and other French politicians also noted that UK ministers rejected the proposal to increase booths at the Dover border control in order to deal with the additional checks brought by Brexit.
The roads in and around Dover became gridlocked over the weekend with some families reportedly waiting up to 21 hours at the height of the disruption on Saturday.
The AA called the Eurotunnel entrance a “hotspot of holiday hell” on Sunday.
Not only were the checks at Dover holding up holidaymakers, but also the choice to close 24 miles of the M20 as part of the Operation Brock plan has also been blamed for the chaos.
Local authorities and transport organisations have told the Government to address the “fragile” infrastructure in Dover which is on a “knife edge”.
Toby Howe, from the Kent Resilience Forum which addresses the response to delays at Channel crossing said that authorities will see another “red” situation next weekend.
He added: “We have a traffic management plan where we can control freight, in particular, to enable traffic to get to the Eurotunnel and the Port of Dover.
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“The backlog of tourist passengers that was generated on Friday has also now been cleared along with successfully getting Saturday’s holidaymakers off their way…
“With the entire port system working efficiently, including strong support from French border colleagues and ferries running through the night, the Port demonstrated that its summer plan will work for the rest of the holiday period, as it did in clearing huge volumes of tourist and freight traffic to get back to normal by the early hours of Sunday morning.
“We should not have been in this situation in the first place, however, with all partners working together, the plan will ensure that trade continues to flow effectively, families get away on their holidays quickly and our community is open and free to go about its business.”