1. Main
  2. Learn
  3. Life
  4. People

15-hour mega jam in UK as France ups border checks

15-hour mega jam in UK as France ups border checks 15-hour mega jam in UK as France ups border checks

British holidaymakers spent hours sweating in their cars as 15-hour queues snaked back from the port of Dover on Sunday due to heightened entry checks by French border police, AFP reports.

Stationary vehicles tailed back up to 12 miles (19 kilometres) inland from Dover, on England's southeastern tip.

The peak summer holiday getaway season and what Dover port officials said was a lack of French border control staff combined with the increased security to create the mammoth queues.

Dover is Britain's main ferry port to continental Europe, with Calais in northeastern France 21 miles (33 kilometres) away across the Channel.

A multiple sclerosis sufferer travelling to Germany for stem cell treatment was among those forced to spend the night in their vehicles.

What should have been a straightforward journey to Dover turned into a 20-hour ordeal for 50-year-old Tanya Cudworth, who was travelling to a Frankfurt clinic.

She told the Press Association news agency that her experience was "absolutely horrendous".

"Nineteen hours in the car has obviously aggravated my symptoms," she said.

"During the day it was so hot and there was nowhere near enough water and at night... you couldn't sleep because you had to keep moving forward.

"We didn't get any water until 3 am and I saw women with babies, young families and people with pets with no water. It's shocking that more wasn't done to get it to people."

- 'Very miserable day' -

People were advised to bring food and drink supplies, while Sikh humanitarian organisation Khalsa Aid delivered bottles of water and snacks.

"We met a lot of young families with children, mostly people going on holidays," said founder Ravi Singh, 46.

"People didn't know what was going on.

"People were very, very frustrated and pulling their hair out.

"It was a very miserable day for many people."

Dover port authorities said French border control booths had been "seriously understaffed overnight".

British border officials were drafted in to help their French colleagues.

"We recognise the security pressures that French law enforcement organisations are under at Dover," said a British government spokeswoman.

"There has been extraordinary disruption in the Dover area today but safety is paramount."

Highways England, which runs the road network, said the delays were due to "heightened security checks to keep the travelling public safe following the recent attacks in France".

By 5 pm (1600 GMT) Sunday, the local Kent Police force said traffic had returned to normal levels, with delays down to around 30 minutes.

Xavier Czerwinski, a senior official from the Pas-de-Calais area, said: "The situation is exceptional because it's the weekend when Britons make the great getaway to the continent.

"Given the European context and the prolonged state of emergency, officers are obliged to check every vehicle rigorously."

The Independent online newspaper said the queues "may be the first sign of what it means to live outside the European Union".

"The snakes of traffic outside Dover are a reminder that we cannot expect life to carry on as normal after Brexit," its editorial said.


Nobel prizewinner proposes a new city in KZ
New abnormal snowfalls expected in Kazakhstan
Huge glacier retreat triggered in 1940s
Hyperloop construction begins in Las Vegas
"Moonlight" to top Spirit Awards nominations
Oil prices fall due to investors uncertainty
New dwarf galaxy discovered around Milky Way
Kanat Islam becomes a top ten WBO boxer
World oil prices continue to rise
Kazakhstan expects warming - Kazhydromet
Merkel to seek fourth term as chancellor
Sale of Tintin drawings set to break records
US, EU stocks fall as markets focus on dollar
Pacific leaders urged to defend free trade
EU warns eight nations on budget deficit
Universiade-2017: Athletic Village is ready
Bob Dylan can't make Nobel ceremony
Messi will never leave Barca - club president
Google, Facebook take aim at 'fake' news
Aerosmith announces Europe 'farewell' tour
Putin, Trump to normalise US-Russia ties
At least 10 hurt in southern Turkey blast
6.2 quake hits western Japan
OPEC agrees shock oil output cut
Israeli ex-president and Nobel laureate Peres dies
Germany blocks WhatsApp data transfers to Facebook
32,000 arrested in Turkey coup probe
Youth to the fore as Milan fashion week opens
Xenophobia threatening peace in eastern Germany
Four-in-10 Japanese are virgins: poll
Sweden re-militarises Baltic island of Gotland
China to launch second space laboratory: Xinhua
More than a billion stars mapped in Milky Way: ESA
Boxing: Golovkin eyes Saunders after stopping Brook
Kazakhstan shifts PM to security chief
Oil prices gain despite rising OPEC supply forecast
US to give Philippines military planes
Singapore wages war on Zika-bearing mosquitoes
Italy quake death toll nears 250
Viral photos add fuel to French burkini debate
18 dead as Italy struck by powerful quake
Japan's first lady visits Pearl Harbor
Pokemon's a no-go on Bangkok's roads
July was Earth's hottest month in modern times
Pakistan rock climbers scale new heights