MPs have been told on Wednesday that 14-hour delays at Dover border controls is not “unrealistic” under the new EU system.
Kent and the Port of Dover could be hit with major traffic and disruption once the EU Entry-Exit System (EES) launches.
All those travelling from non-EU countries including the UK will have their fingerprints scanned and a photograph taken which will then be stored on to a database when they enter a member state for the first time.
The Commons’ European Scrutiny Committee heard from Kent County Council leader Roger Gough said Ashford Borough Council’s warned that wait times could reach 14 hours which “does not seem to us unrealistic.”
He added, “If you had extra aggravating pressures, weather or whatever, (the situation) could be worse.”
Gough said, “it takes very little” for disruption to cause a major build-up of traffic in and around the Kent area.
He added, “It starts usually in and around the town of Dover. It rapidly moves to other parts of the county and has that effect very, very quickly.”
Deirdre Wells, chief executive at tourism organisation Visit Kent, told the committee media coverage “of Kent being a carpark” from previous disruptions “impacts our reputation” and local businesses.
Wells said, “We need to sort something that will alleviate the bottleneck at our ports to ensure that whether you’re coming to the county for business purposes or domestic purposes, you can access the county easily, but actually that the experience of inbound and outbound travel… is professional, welcoming and speedy.”