The Port of Dover has declared a critical incident as high levels of traffic caused coach passengers to experience lengthy delays.
It comes as operators P&O Ferries and DFDS Seaways also reported delays to ferry and coach services, citing bad weather and hold-ups at French border controls as partly responsible for waits and queues.
DFDS announced on Twitter just after 9pm that the wait time for coaches is approximately seven hours from arrival at the port.
P&O Ferries tweeted that it was providing refreshments to coach passengers waiting at the cruise terminal and working on getting food and drink to passengers waiting in the buffer zone at the entrance to the port.
The port said high volumes of coach traffic were due to the Easter holidays, but travel expert Simon Calder has pointed to a different cause.
Writing in the Independent, he said: “The UK asked for a European Union external frontier, similar to the hard borders the EU has with Russia and Turkey, to take effect in Kent, with every British passport inspected and stamped”.
Officials are now required to check:
- The purpose of the visit
- That the traveller has not stayed more than 90 days in the past 180 days
- The traveller has an onward or return ticket and sufficient funds for the planned length of stay.
So, inevitably, delays have occurred.
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