Holiday gridlock: traffic chaos in England

After most schools in England and Wales broke up for the summer holidays last week, an estimated 18.8 million holidaymakers were on the road in the UK over the weekend - the highest number since 2014 - according to the RAC transport policy and research organisation. Massive queues formed at the Port of Dover, and more congestion is expected over the coming weeks. Europe's press is quick to pin the blame on Brexit.

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Gazeta Wyborcza (PL) /

The pandemic excuse no longer applies

For Gazeta Wyborcza, the real reason for the traffic chaos is obvious:

“Since Brexit became reality in January 2021 it has mostly been able to hide behind the pandemic. The globally inconsistent and constantly changing Covid restrictions and documentation requirements of recent years have led to passenger transport chaos and the Covid virus, together with the war in Ukraine, has exacerbated the unpredictability of the supply chains. Traffic jams, delays and cancelled flights were not unique to the United Kingdom. But what happened in the south-east of England this weekend can only be blamed on Brexit.”

The Guardian (GB) /

Denial of Brexit effect

The Guardian is incensed by the British government's refusal to take responsibility for the chaos in the ports:

“Dover's owners put in a bid for GBP 33 million of government funding to help them manage the changed circumstances, and particularly the post-Brexit requirement for passports to be stamped, it is clear that they anticipated issues beyond one-off delays. So far the government has not explained its decision against the upgrade. ... The obvious conclusion is that warnings were not taken seriously enough by a government determined to minimise negative effects of quitting the EU - and to blame anyone but itself when these become too obvious to ignore.”

The Daily Telegraph (GB) /

Strong and stable borders

At least the chaos at the Port of Dover shows that we finally have control of our borders, The Daily Telegraph maintains:

“We need an efficient system for conducting checks, obviously. To force people to queue up for 21 hours to catch a ferry - as some have reported having to do over the past few days - is inhumane. But we should be pleased about one thing: that finally our passports are being properly checked and that we now have some control over who is entering and leaving Britain. ... The truth is that for years ports were allowed to operate pretty much as if we were in the Schengen area. We are going to have to get used to travelling through Channel ports where border controls are finally properly enforced.”