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Port of Dover to reclaim land from sea to stop queues when EU’s biometric border controls system begins

The Port of Dover desires to construct out into the ocean to keep away from delays when the EU’s deliberate biometric border controls system begins.

The Port’s boss, Doug Bannister, mentioned reclaiming some land would create extra space to course of passengers.

He has beforehand warned the brand new system might trigger lengthy queues.

The brand new controls, referred to as the Entry Exit Scheme, had been first slated for introduction in 2022, however are actually anticipated to begin in autumn 2024.

After their introduction individuals getting into the EU should register their fingerprints and {a photograph} alongside their passport.

Over the previous few years the Port of Dover has seen repeated incidents of queuing at its busiest occasions, with post-Brexit checks including to ready occasions. Mr Bannister has insisted all the things doable has now been performed to minimise delays. This summer season, with visitors numbers practically again to pre-Covid ranges, there no extended issues on the port.

Nevertheless, Mr Bannister has beforehand warned that underneath the Entry Exit Scheme (EES), the time taken for non-EU residents to adjust to the brand new necessities might create bottlenecks.

Mr Bannister has mentioned that working with the authorities on either side of the Channel over the previous 12 months had made him extra assured.

An app could also be developed to deal with a part of the registration course of earlier than individuals arrive on the port, he prompt. Nevertheless, he mentioned the port wanted an answer to stop “unacceptable” queues materialising on the border.

Mr Bannister informed the BBC that plans already existed to reclaim land within the port’s western docks, for cargo use. Now, he’s trying to velocity up the mission so the brand new space can be utilized to carry passengers when EES begins.

This acceleration would value an additional £2m, with the purpose of finalising the design by the tip of the 12 months, and beginning work within the spring. The port is hoping the federal government might be able to contribute financially.

The Dover boss mentioned selections wanted to be made “imminently”.

Dover will not be alone in attempting to keep away from difficulties because of EES.

Yann Leriche, chief government of Eurotunnel’s proprietor Getlink, mentioned the change was one thing the enterprise “can not mismanage”, with issues “not an possibility”.

Getlink is spending £100m to create a brand new space, the place individuals will have the ability to register their information at 75 stands.

Eurotunnel can also be seeing visitors recuperate, though it’s nonetheless in need of pre-pandemic ranges.

Getlink has developed expertise to course of customs controls digitally. It says this now permits items to cross the Channel as rapidly as earlier than Brexit – one thing it hopes will entice clients.

The Port of Dover says it had its busiest day since earlier than the pandemic on Saturday twenty ninth July, with 800 automobiles arriving each hour at peak occasions.

The typical wait time over the summer season was 41 minutes throughout busy durations, it mentioned.

Over the the summer season the port dealt with 1.14 million passengers travelling over to France, near the 1.19 million in 2019.