New passport checks to cause huge tailbacks at ferries for UK families

New passport regulations will lead to major traffic gridlock for British holidaymakers this summer.

The A20 road network

The A20 road network.Image by ㇹヮィㇳ / CC BY 2.0

The new regulations are especially bad news for families planning to catch ferries to France as tailbacks for up to five hours are expected when the new system comes into operation in three weeks time.

The Daily Telegraph reported that ferry companies have warned the British Home Office that holidaymakers will suffer long queues on the A20 which is at the end of the M20 motorway. The fact that staff will find it hard to process cars at passport control will have a knockback affect by blocking the route between Dover and Folkestone.

Dover Harbour which looks set to face serious tailbacks because of new British Home Office directive on Passport checking

Dover Harbour looks set to face serious tailbacks because of a new British Home Office directive on passport checking. Image by Marco Chiesa / CC BY 2.0

The source of the problem is the fact that from early April, every tourist leaving the UK will, for the first time in two decades, have their passports checked at ferry points.

As Dover handles 60% of Britain’s ferry traffic to the Continent with 50 sailings a day, it will feel the impact of this change more than any other port area.

This, in turn, means that family vehicles will now have to join the queues of lorries, meaning long delays and also raising worries for the safety of families in the cars.

The Daily Telegraph reveals that secret trials showed 'significant queues' of 650 plus cars when the number of overall cars are at a level of 7500. On the busiest day last year, over 11,500 cars arrived at Dover for the crossing to France.

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