Long delays for holidaymakers are a ‘critical incident’ says UKs Dover port

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The Port of Dover, Britain’s main gateway to Europe, on Friday declared a ‘critical incident’ over long delays, blaming French authorities for causing a bottleneck as holidaymakers look to start their summer breaks.

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Ferry operators warned passengers travelling to Calais they faced delays of up to four hours at the start of what is typically one of the busiest periods of travel as schools break up for their summer holiday.

Port of Dover CEO Doug Bannister has declared the situation a ‘critical incident,’ a spokeswoman told Reuters. They did not specify what that declaration meant in practical terms.

The port, which handles 12 million passengers each year, released a statement blaming French authorities for failing to properly staff border control posts based in Dover.

“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,” the statement posted on the Port of Dover website said.

The French border police did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Dover and Calais have what is known as juxtaposed border controls, where French authorities check passports on British soil before departure, and vice versa in France.

“Please arrive prepared for a prolonged wait - carry snacks and additional water with you,” P&O ferries, one of the main passenger operators from Dover, said on Twitter.

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