Holidaymakers have been warned of 14-hour-long queues for the next three years due to the upcoming new European Union (EU) rules.
Cllr Neil Baker, Kent County Council’s cabinet member for roads, has claimed that the EU’s new Entry-Exit System (EES) is going to be a “serious, serious mess” and will cause a lot of chaos at the Port of Dover and Eurotunnel during the busy season.
The EES system, set to come into place in October 2024, will replace passport stamps and check biometric data instead.
Speaking to his fellow cabinet members earlier this month, Baker said: “I don’t think we can downplay how big of an impact it could well have on Kent and over an extended period. We are not talking about just going into October and there being a bit of a blip and everything will be back to normal.”
Operation Brock, originally established in the event of a no-deal Brexit, is a traffic management system to allow the flow of travelling to and from Dover.
Baker pointed out that with Brock in place even for a day or two, the situation can be so much worse.
“I think we have got to be realistic here – we could be looking at the equivalent of three years solid of Brock being in place. We know how bad life is when Brock is in place for a day or two – imagine that infinitely worse. This is going to be a serious, serious mess,” added Baker.
Meanwhile, the County Council member also said that the problems won’t be restricted to just Dover, a coastal town in Kent, but also force long queues at the Eurostar terminal at London St Pancras station.
Baker isn’t the first person to highlight the possible downsides of the upcoming new system. It has been reported that a number of European countries have already warned that the new EES system will result in huge delays.
The Slovenian government warned the new process takes “up to four times longer” while Austria warned that processing times would “double compared to the current situation”.
France, in fact, is believed to have asked the introduction of EES be postponed until after the 2024 Paris Olympics in July and August. This is to avoid possible delays when tourism will be at its peak with a lot of pressure on facilities.
As per the new EU rules, travellers from the UK will need to submit fingerprints and facial biometrics before they travel to Europe.