Millions of holidaymakers face huge delays this summer as the government imposes new legislation on border controls.
From April 8, anyone wishing to leave the country will find that his or her passport is checked in what can only be described as a major security crackdown. Every passport will be scanned by a ferry or train company employee. This physical scanning will create a unique electronic record, which then has to be sent to the Home Office.
The new measures are expected to bring massive delays to holidaymakers trying to head across the English Channel. The biggest delays are expected at the ports, but there are also issues around train stations and airports.
The measures are meant to help the government in a number of areas. The government is concerned about foreign nationals who have overstayed their welcome in the country. This is a serious concern, and it does warrant some measures. Police and security services are also interested in new ways to track criminals.
But at peak times of the year, such as summer, the technology is expected to bring in huge delays, simply because it is new technology and will suffer the expected problems that new measures create.
For example, there will be issues around families, especially large families that travel together. With seven people in a people carrier, for example, having their passports checked individually will take considerable time.
Jams of up to 5 miles
The AA has suggested that travellers add extra time into their journeys, but speculation has resulted in fears that traffic jams of up to 5 miles could result.
Interestingly, not all holidaymakers will have to undergo such scrutiny. The new checks do not apply to anyone travelling by private plane or boat, or anyone travelling to Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man.
All this is part of the Home Office wishing to impose exit checks on travellers who leave the country. The government has maintained that it is working closely with seaports as well as airports to ensure the system is implemented smoothly. But industry experts believe that they could cause hours and hours of delays in what is arguably the worst time of the year to do so.
Date Published: March 23, 2015
Author: David Brown