Leeds woman tells of ordeal as drivers face long delays at Dover

Emily Knaggs, left, and Amy Roberts
Emily Knaggs, left, and Amy Roberts
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A LEEDS WOMAN today told of her frustration after terror fears led to severe delays at the port of Dover leaving hundreds of motorists stranded.

Holidaymakers and lorry drivers have been warned they face queues lasting hours and have been advised to stock up on food and water as the great summer getaway begins.

One Yorkshire traveller, Emily Knaggs, 30, from Rothwell, Leeds, told the Yorkshire Evening Post she and her friend Amy Roberts had taken an hour to travel a mile on the approach to Dover.

She said: “We have spent three hours on the motorway and we are still four-and-a-half miles from Dover.

“We came down on Friday night and stayed in Canterbury overnight and set off at 7.30am on Saturday. We have spent the last three hours looking at the back of a lorry. It’s so frustrating.

“We are going to the Champagne region of France for a holiday. We will get there eventually but it is taking for ever.”

There are currently severe delays on the A20 and the A2 and there are measures in place to split tourist, freight and local traffic.

Highways England said in a statement on their website 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 A20 is closed eastbound between the M20 J13 and the junction with the A260 near Folkestone for the safety of traffic queuing to enter the Port of Dover so that it does not have to queue within the Roundhill Tunnel.”

The Port of Dover advised local traffic to use alternative routes through the official Twitter account and said approximate waiting times on roads approaching the port is around four hours.

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.”

Dale Savage who has been caught in the delays for 12 hours as he makes his way to his brother’s wedding, told BBC Breakfast “there was a bit of a camping spirit going on” among those stuck in the jam.

He said: “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.”

Kent Police said there are delays of up to eight and a half hours on roads towards Dover.

The force’s officers, alongside Kent county council and the coastguard are set to hand out water to people stuck in queues.

Sections of the northbound A20 will be closed while this is happening, police said.

Many people have stepped out of their cars and children are playing football to entertain themselves, said Sonia Tutt who is travelling as part of a convoy headed to Luhmuhlen in Germany.

The 38-year-old, from Hythe in Kent, described the situation as “tragic”, and said she had not seen many police around to inform people of delays.

Mrs Tutt, who is travelling with more than a dozen people, including her 14-year-old twin daughters to the Mounted Games European Championships, said their expected 10-hour journey is set to take much longer.

She said: “Everyone is out of their vehicles, kids are playing football. There’s not been one police car or anything. Even when we went to join the motorway there was no indication that when you joined you were likely to be sitting here all night.”

There are seven ponies in the convoy, but no priority system in place for livestock, she said.

“Normally when Operation Stack is in progress they prioritise livestock and you get a police escort down, but there’s none of that, no priority,” she said.

As the temperature rises throughout the day consideration will have to be made for the animals to be taken out of their trailers if they get irritable, Mrs Tutt said.

“They are all quite happy at the moment, and we have come prepared. We will have to see what happens,” she said.