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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Alahna Kindred

Port of Dover launches urgent review after more than 48 hours of travel misery

Queues at the Port of Dover have finally cleared after more than 48 hours of disruption and brought travel misery to hundreds.

Over the weekend, worried parents shared their fury at their children being stuck on coaches without food and water.

Others shared how their week-long holiday was cancelled due to the drivers going over hours while waiting 15 hours to get through.

As of last night, the Port of Dover said about 40 coaches were awaiting immigration processing, which they estimated would take four hours.

By 2.30am today, the port said the A2 and A20 approach roads were “running normally”.

Travel misery started on Friday when the port declared a critical incident because of "lengthy French border processes and sheer volume”.

Families were stuck without food for hours (PA)

This morning they said the critical incident has been "stood down".

In a statement on Twitter this morning, Port of Dover wrote: "All of this weekend's coaches have been processed through immigration controls at the port and have headed off to France.

"The critical incident has been stood down. The Port of Dover continued working round the clock with the ferry operators and borer agencies to get coach passengers on their way and the backlog is now cleared.

"Along with the final coaches being processed through the port, all tourist cars and freight vehicles were also processed successfully.

"We continue to offer our sincere apologies to all those affected by the prolonged delays that have occurred over this weekend. We will be conducting a full review of our plans with the ferry operators early this week to ensure improvements are made ready for the forthcoming Easter weekend."

Travel misery started on Friday when the port declared a critical incident and said the delays were “due to lengthy French border processes and sheer volume”.

One furious parent said their son's ski trip was cancelled this weekend because of the delays.

He tweeted: "Our son’s school coach had to go back home after their 15-hour wait at Dover as the drivers would have exceeded their hours. I’m not sure that apology makes up for ruining the ski trip they’ve waited a year for."

In another tweet, he said: "My son’s school skiing trip has now been cancelled. They’ve been stuck at Dover for 15 hours and are now coming home.

"12 months he been looking forward to this @POferriesupdate, @Port_of_Dover, Border Control et al have got a lot of answering to do. We’re also need our money back!"

Transport problems at the port of Dover are down to a "lack of planning" by authorities, Labour has suggested.

Pressed on how the Opposition would act differently on cross-channel traffic, as it has suggested it would not to restore freedom of movement with the EU, shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper described the situation as "a total nightmare for people trying to travel this weekend".

She told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "We can't have this every time there is an Easter holiday, every time there is a summer holiday.

"It is particularly the lack of planning around coach parties and that really affects school children as well."

However, Home Secretary Suella Braverman rejected suggestions that Brexit could be the cause of delays at the port as passengers endured long queues and cancelled trips.

Ms Braverman said it would not be fair to view the delays as "an adverse effect of Brexit".

She told Sophy Ridge On Sunday on Sky News: "What I would say is at acute times when there is a lot of pressure crossing the Channel, whether that's on the tunnel or ferries, then I think that there's always going to be a back-up and I just urge everybody to be a bit patient while the ferry companies work their way through the backlog."

She suggested that in general "things have been operating very smoothly at the border".

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