The Port of Dover boss has warned that the brand new EU entry-exit system may trigger “important and continued disruption for a really very long time”.
Doug Bannister, chief government of the UK’s busiest ferry port, informed MPs at Wednesday’s transport choose committee assembly that seven months earlier than the proposed introduction of latest biometric checks, the port doesn’t know the principles and procedures that can apply.
The Brexit withdrawal settlement made the UK a “third nation” with strict controls on entry and exit. At Dover, frontier controls are “juxtaposed” with French officers conducting checks on British soil.
In the beginning of the principle summer season peak in July, lengthy queues constructed up as a result of must stamp each passport and, stated Mr Bannister, the delayed arrival of some Police aux Frontières officers from France.
Subsequent summer season, more durable border checks that the UK helped develop whereas a member will apply to British passport holders.
Below the EU entry-exit system, every time a third-country nationwide crosses an EU exterior border, the system will register the date and place of entry and exit. Fingerprints and a facial biometric will even be checked.
The European Union expects the system to enter service in Could 2023. It says the system “will substitute the present system of guide stamping of passports, which is time-consuming, doesn’t present dependable information on border crossings, and doesn’t permit a scientific detection of over-stayers”.
However the Port of Dover boss has informed MPs: “We haven’t seen with the method is, we don’t know what the expertise is, and so it’s very tough then to estimate what the time could be.
“We’d like the principles of the sport. We have to see what the expertise goes to be like.
“We’d like a adequate period of time to trial, take a look at and prepare to make use of the expertise earlier than implementation – figuring out early after which making sure that we’re getting as a lot lead time as we probably can to make sure that we’ve received the appropriate folks on the bottom with the appropriate processes to make sure that it operates correctly.
He warned MPs that checkpoint occasions for motorists leaving the UK may improve seven-fold.
“What we have now heard is that it may very well be two minutes per particular person to register, plus two minutes for the automotive, in order that’s 10 minutes for a automotive full of 4 folks,” he stated.
“If it is available in, within the worst potential approach, in the way in which that we worry, it’s going to have important and continued disruption for a really very long time.
“For subsequent summer season’s getaway, we’re in an entire new ball recreation.
“If the border will get sticky, it backs up very, in a short time.”
Huw Merriman, the senior Tory MP who’s the committee chair, requested: “So there’s seven months to go and you continue to don’t know what the principles of the highway going to be by way of what you’ll want to do and what passengers must do to adjust to this?”
“Appropriate,” stated Mr Bannister.
Mr Merriman described the scenario as “fully weird and unacceptable”.