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Severe delays on approach to Port of Dover

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Hundreds of motorists spent the night trapped in their cars amid traffic chaos at the Port of Dover - and huge delays are continuing this morning.

The travel misery has been caused by increased security checks on the French side of the Channel.

The latest update from The Port of Dover is that delays were now standing at eight and a half hours.

The Port of Dover
The Port of Dover

In insists it shares the frustrations of people queuing for hours - saying French border controls have been "seriously understaffed" overnight.

They say at one point a single French officer was checking passengers on hundreds of coaches, resulting in each coach taking 40 minutes to process.

Delays are also hitting Eurotunnel services, where check-in is taking 90 minutes.

Kent Police issued a statement just after 8am today saying they were 'working hard to support Highways England and travel providers.'

Holidaymakers planning their getaway have now been urged to plan their journeys carefully and police have warned people to take extra food and drink.

The A20 has been closed to allow water to be distributed by Kent Police, KCC and the Coastguard. Eleven thousand bottles will be handed out.

11,000 bottles of water are being handed out. Picture @kentpolicebikes
11,000 bottles of water are being handed out. Picture @kentpolicebikes

At 9am the Port of Dover said French officers have started to relax the checks so the queues are moving faster.

The Highways Agency said the delays are affecting the A20 and the A2 east-bound.

The A20 is currently closed east-bound between the M20 Junction 13 and the junction with the A260 near Folkestone.

People attempting to reach the port are advised to use the M2/A2. Local traffic should use other routes including the B2011, A256 or A258.

The Dover Regatta and Music Festival takes place today. In a bid to encourage visitors to still attend, the Port of Dover has tweeted to come by train or walk.

The delays approaching the port last weekend. Picture by Gary Barnes
The delays approaching the port last weekend. Picture by Gary Barnes

Passengers have taken to social media to tell of their experiences.

Aga Soja tweeted: "We have been stuck in a queue at Dover for seven hours now,travelling with kids...no food,no toilet...can anyone do anything? Local police?"

Kate Bradley said: "Thousands of people stuck in their cars overnight outside Dover. Total chaos."

Writing on our Facebook page Graham Ives said: 'I've been here seven hours now ... people are playing tennis , kids are on scooters. Haven't moved for five hours.'

Port of Dover staff spent the night checking on the safety of passengers stranded in their vehicles and distributing bottles of water.

Southeastern warned the traffic problems were having a knock-on effect on the replacement bus services between Dover Priory and Folkestone Central, which are being delayed.

It also urged passengers travelling towards Ashford International from Dover Priory to travel on services to Ramsgate and change.

And Stagecoach said its services were also being severely affected due to the volume of traffic on roads surrounding the port.

P&O Ferries confirmed the delays were being caused by increased security checks following recent events in France.

It added the situation had been compounded by the number of people going abroad as the school holidays got underway.

Eurotunnel bosses want a meeting with officials about a Channel crossing
Eurotunnel bosses want a meeting with officials about a Channel crossing

France has stepped up security measures since the Bastille Day terrorist attack killed 84 people in Nice.

The country remains under a state of emergency declared after 130 people died in a series of terrorist attacks in Paris in November last year.

Listen to kmfm for travel updates.

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