Holiday makers and truck drivers have been caught in “traffic chaos” outside Dover, as terror fears led to severe delays at the port of Dover as the summer getaway begins.
Hundreds of motorists were stranded overnight after security checks were heightened at the request of French authorities and there were huge queues on the A20 and the A2 on Saturday, leaving many stuck for up to 10 hours.
Motorists reported nearby service stations had run out of water and food. Many got out of the cars and begun kicking footballs about and camping.
Police had to hand out water to stranded motorists given the high temperatures and Dover MP Charlie Elphicke called the situation “completely unacceptable”.
”For Dover to once again be plunged into traffic chaos is completely unacceptable,” Elphicke told the BBC.
“The Department for Transport and Home Office knew there would be heightened security checks in place in France. They should have been prepared. They weren’t.”
The Port of Dover said it raised concerns about how many staff the French authorities had to carry out the increased checks.
The increased checks were relaxed on Saturday afternoon the huge backlog remained.
Twitter account The Dover Seagull published footage showing the huge queues, which were already there by Saturday morning
Dale Savage who had been caught in the delays for 12 hours as he made his way to his brother’s wedding, told BBC Breakfast on Saturday that “there was a bit of a camping spirit going on” among those stuck in the jam.
He added: “There are a lot of kids here, a lot of young children - a lot of people want to go on their holidays.
“There are no real frustrations, the real problem was no one knew what was going on - were not quite sure why we were being held there - wasn’t sure whether it was an accident or something had happened further down in the port.
“There was a bit of a camping spirit going on, very much like Glastonbury earlier on in the year, but without the benefit of having a band to see at the end of it.”
Highways England said that “French border police at the Port of Dover and Eurotunnel continue to follow French government requirements to deliver heightened security checks” following recent attacks, the Press Association reports.
P&O Ferries tweeted: “Heightened security check at French Border Control in Dover due to events in France, we’ll get you on your way as soon as you check in.”
It also tweeted those who missed their booked ferry would be booked on the next available one.
The French security measures follow the Nice attack last week, where a man killed 84 people by driving a truck into a crowd celebrating Bastille Day.