As the Port of Dover reported normal traffic flows at Dover this morning (25 July), following a weekend of chaos which saw thousands of trucks backed up for more than 20 miles, RHA called for urgent government action to provide a permananent parking facility for HGV drivers hit by Channel Port delays.

In a statement issued this morning at 9.30am the Dover Port authority said: “The Port of Dover is pleased to report that traffic is flowing normally this morning. There is no Port of Dover traffic being held in Brock on the M20, the Dover TAP system on the A20 is not currently required and all traffic is contained in the port with local roads operating normally.”

It added: “The French border is well staffed and there is minimal dwell time to get through the port and onto the ferries. Over the weekend, the Port of Dover handled almost 142,000 passengers including freight passengers."

However ferry operator DFDS is warning there are “small queues” at Dover border controls and recommended drivers allow a minimum of 90 minutes before departure to complete controls.

The queues to Dover began to build on Friday, resulting in a major incident being declared after routes around the Kent terminals became gridlocked. As the delays built around 3,000 lorries were stacked on the M20 outside Dover with HGV drivers reporting delays of upto 20 hours.

During a visit to Kent on Saturday, Tory leadership candidate and Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said the delays were down to a lack of French border staff. Doug Bannister, the Port of Dover’s chief executive, also blamed French border control officials, Police aux Frontières, for failing to provide sufficient numbers to staff the passport booths.

However Calais MP Pierre-Henri Dumont rejected both claims insisting that additional border checks introduced as a result of Brexit and a lack of capacity at the port were behind the problem.

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Natalie Chapman, Logistics UK, said some lorry drivers had waited to cross the Channel for "well over 18 hours" in queues with no toilet facilities. Meanwhile the RHA has renewed its call for a permanent site for lorries to use when there is disruption at the Channel Ports.

Director of policy and public affairs at the RHA, Rod McKenzie, said: “Lorry drivers have put up with horrendous queues under the most appalling conditions – being stuck in a traffic jam for 20 hours is a miserable experience for anyone, but for professional drivers who do this run regularly, it’s disgraceful.

“The RHA has repeatedly called for better contingency arrangements with facilities such as toilets for truckers. This is now urgent as this problem is not going away nor is it a one-off. It is time to take decisive action and deal with this long-term problem.”

In a statement RHA added; “We ask that the Department for Transport, BEIS, Number 10, Kent County Council, the police and National Highways urgently work with industry on a specification for a “Channel Contingency Site” and to identify viable locations and options.”

The RAC is also calling for government investment into a lorry parking scheme to ease the situation, rather than what the association described as the “inadequate solution of turning a motorway into a lorry park”.