|Frazzled motorists and freight trucks arriving at the Port of Dover |
after 15 hours of gridlock on the motorway ....
Delays for travellers heading towards the Channel Ferry and Tunnel crossings have eased but motorists have been warned to expect some disruption for weeks to come.
Many British holidaymakers travelling by car, campervans and coaches are seriously considering boycotting France and accessing mainland Europe via ports in Holland or by ferry directly to Santander in Spain.
Julian Bray broadcaster and travel expert, speaking on the BBC 3 Counties Radio Robert Peroni Show earlier this afternoon, suggested: "The only way to counter any alleged French threat, seen by some politicians as punishment for the Brexit vote for the UK to leave the EU, by frustrating access to French ports; is to return the favour and we boycott or bypass France.
"British holiday traffic delays of some 15 hours without food and water in sweltering heat - delays caused by French security staff chronic under-manning and the refusal of French officers and heavily unionised workers to work at the weekend or undertake any overtime. Essentially in UK terms, we would call it 'working to contract'.
"The dramatic answer is to boycott the Port of Dover - Calais route completely and seriously consider alternatives, even if it take a few hours out of your originally planned route, it might well be a quicker and more relaxed alternative.
"If the British decided to seek alternative routes, Calais and the surrounding regional towns and cities would see an immediate drop in revenue. That alone would see town mayors complaining to Paris in their droves!
"Ideally motorists could telephone ahead and try alternatives to Dover, if they have any flexibility they should leave the M20 motorway as early as possible, essentially turning right and try A26 Newhaven - Dieppe, or even better cut out France all together and take the Brittany Ferries overnight voyage from A27 Portsmouth to Santander, Spain where security is tight but well regulated with minimal delays.
"Also out of A27 Portsmouth, frazzled families could opt for the Ports of Cherbourg and Le Havre, again only slight delays. A little further on is Poole where the ferry to Cherbourg operates.
"The other option is, at an early stage t turn left off the M20 motorway, and head directly for the A120 Port of Harwich and its popular route to the Hook of Holland with direct access to Holland, Belgium and Germany and few delays," Mr Bray added.
Jean-Marc Puissesseau, president of the Cote d'Opale Chamber of Commerce, which runs the Port of Calais, insisted he would complain (ie at some time in the future ...) to the French authorities about the failure to prepare for increased border checks.
He was unable to offer any explanation as to why little or no advance planning had been put in place for the expected peak capacity traffic and escape to Europe as British schools broke up for the summer holidays.
Just one French Official was deployed to carry out physical searches of 1000's of coaches. Each individual search lasting some 40-minutes ....
Delays for travellers heading towards the Channel crossing on Monday have since eased but motorists have been warned to expect disruption especially at weekends and for many weeks to come.
Holidaymakers faced hours on gridlocked roads near and surrounding Dover over the weekend, as some spent the night in their cars as they tried in vain to get to the port. At one stage there were 12 to 15 mile tailbacks and people endured 15-hour waits.
Mr Puissesseau told BBC Radio 4's Today show: "I am very ashamed of this situation.
"I am so sorry for the British passengers starting their holiday with so long a wait because of control."
He added: "When we know that there will be big traffic, as it was yesterday because it was starting holidays, it should be organised.
"And if the French police is obliged now to control because of all the terrorism we are facing, I can understand it but what I cannot understand is that they don't put enough policeman to control.
Tory MP Andrew Bridgen suggested the chaos at Dover could have been motivated by last month's Brexit vote "I can tell you when I finish the call with you I will call the Home Office and tell them it is unacceptable."
Asked if the delays could be revenge for the Brexit vote, he said "I hope not".
He added that he will "make so much pressure" that the delays should not happen again.
Police said the disruption was down to a "vast volume of holiday traffic" coupled with delays caused by heightened security at the border in the wake of terror attacks.
Increased checks were put in place by French authorities at the port but questions have been raised about staffing levels to deal with the huge number of people travelling at this time.
UK Border Force officials have since been drafted in to work with French border police, in Calais although the UK staff will not be permitted to conduct searches on French soil.
Sources: AFP, CNS, BBCNews, PA,
JULIAN BRAY +44(0)1733 345581 Aerospace & Incident Management Expert, Journalist & Broadcaster, Aviation Security & Airline Operations, Travel / Maritime & Cruise Industry, NUJ, EQUITY, LIVE ISDN LINK, Broadcast ISDN COOBE ++44 (0)1733 345020 e&oe Old faithful NOKIA: 07944 217476 www.aviationcomment.com