‘Critical incident’ at Dover port as travellers face gridlock
The Port of Dover declared a “critical incident” this morning, (22 July), after queues of up to five hours developed amid the start of the summer holiday exodus.
Port authorities are placing the blame on French border control. The port’s chief executive, Doug Bannister, told the BBC the port had been “badly let down” by French border controls that were “insufficiently resourced”, causing traffic to queue for miles. Only six of the 12 passport booths are reportedly being manned.
Twitter user Charlie Hamilton describes moving at around “25 metres per hour” this morning.
In a statement, the Port of Dover says: “We are deeply frustrated that the resource at the French border overnight and early this morning has been woefully inadequate to meet our predicted demand and even more deeply regret the consequences that will now be felt by so many.
“We know that resource is finite, but the popularity of Dover is not a surprise. Regrettably, the Police Aux Frontières (PAF) resource has been insufficient and has fallen far short of what is required to ensure a smooth first weekend of the peak summer getaway period.
“We will continue to work with all Kent partners to look after those caught up in the current situation, which could and should have been avoided, and play our part in resolving it as soon as possible.
“Working with and through the UK government, we will also liaise constructively with PAF to work through the present logjam and to stress again the importance of adequate French border resource for the coming days.”
Ferry operator P&O has told passengers to arrive six hours early to give enough time to clear security, and advised customers to bring extra food and water to prepare for the prolonged wait.
Simon Calder on the chaos at the port of Dover.— Haggis_UK 🇬🇧 🇪🇺 (@Haggis_UK) July 22, 2022
“Since brexit it’s been necessary to have every single passport stamped at Dover… & as a result of that everything takes much longer… “#GMB pic.twitter.com/flTAWNrY1u
In an interview this morning, travel expert Simon Calder told Good Morning Britain that the French authorities need to ‘staff up’ to help ease the situation. He adds that: “since Brexit it has been necessary to have every single passport stamped at Dover. As a result of that, everything takes much longer.”