A shocked mother has spoken out after her son and his friends were trapped at the Port of Dover before 4pm in the Easter holidays escape chaos. Gillian Charlton said her son Ned’s nightmare started around 7:30pm on a bus in line for passport control on Saturday.
After waiting 14 hours as the bus crept closer and closer to a ferry, it remained stuck for two hours without moving.
Thirteen-year-old Ned and his friends would be on their way to Pila in the Valle d’Aosta, Italyfor a skiing holiday.
And Ms. Charlton says everyone on the bus went hungry after not being offered a KitKat until midnight.
The social worker from Chorley, Lancashire, said: “It’s chaotic.
“I don’t think they have access to running water and can’t get out – just to use the portaloo.
“They got a KitKat at midnight.
“Children feel unsafe. They are all starving.”
The Port of Dover authorities confirmed that the processing time for coaches at the border was approximately four hours.
Yesterday Ms Charlton, 43, said cars are “flying through” but hundreds of coaches are stuck in traffic jams for miles.
She added: “It disgusts me. My son said there are a hundred coaches behind them – and I think they are mostly school children.
“I sent him off with food for the day and they had breakfast vouchers to get food in France in the morning.
“I am furious. The fact that they are mainly schoolchildren is recorded in it.
“They should have limited the bookings.
‘They know how many people come to the ports. I’m so worried.’
READ MORE: POLL: Do you agree with plans to curb ‘low quality’ degrees?
Additional sailings were carried out on Saturday to try to clear the backlog.
On Sunday morning, the port estimated that some travelers could have to wait up to eight hours, depending on the ferry company.
The sun reports that the Port of Dover authorities confirmed early this morning that “all buses had been cleared”.
In a statement, the port said: “All coaches waiting at the port for border clearance were released from 00:30 this morning.
“Thank you for your patience as we got these vehicles on their journey and we apologize for the inconvenience.”
Home Secretary Suella Braverman told Sophy Ridge On Sunday on Sky News yesterday morning that it would not be fair to see the delays as “an adverse effect of Brexit“.
She said: “What I would say is that in acute moments when there is a lot of pressure crossing the Channel, whether in the tunnel or on ferries, I think there will always be a back-up and I urge urging everyone to be a little patient as the ferry companies work their way through the backlog.”
She downplayed fears that delays in Dover could become a regular occurrence that could ruin school holiday plans, suggesting that overall “things are running very smoothly at the border”.
New passport rules came into effect in 2021 stating that French border control must check British passports in this country before travelers can cross the Channel.