Post-Brexit roadblocks re-erected to deal with Europe holiday traffic, despite France restrictions

·3-min read
Operation Brock has been re-erected to help the flow of traffic (file photo) (PA)
Operation Brock has been re-erected to help the flow of traffic (file photo) (PA)

Road barriers to help the flow of traffic have been re-erected in Kent despite recent restrictions for cross-channel travel from France.

Operation Brock came into force on Monday as the barriers were placed on the M20 “in anticipation of increased international travel by car drivers from Monday”, according to Highways England.

The system was designed to handle post-Brexit queues and was removed in April.

It has been reinstated to help with the flow of heavy traffic expected at the start of summer holidays, while ‘Freedom Day’ was anticipated to have even more traffic on the roads in Kent.

It comes as fully-vaccinated travellers coming from France will have to quarantine upon their return.

From Monday, double-jabbed residents arriving into England from countries on the Government’s amber list will no longer have to self-isolate for 10 days – except if they are arriving from France.

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This is due to the “persistent presence” of the Beta coronavirus variant in the nation, the Government said.

The Government’s U-turn has been criticised by many, with some claiming it causes ‘mass confusion’ for the travel sector.

Gemma Antrobus, of the Association of Independent Tour Operators, said the travel industry had not expected the step taken by the Government on Friday evening.

She told BBC Breakfast on Saturday: “This new level of traffic light, this fifth traffic light that we now have – amber-plus – wasn’t something that’s ever been mentioned, so nobody expected this to come.

“So really the travel industry are in as much shock as the consumers are right now, and really we would just have to pick up the pieces and deal with it and help our clients through this pretty terrible situation.”

EasyJet chief Johan Lundgren said it “pulls the rug” from under people who were already in France or had booked holidays there.

Britons in France have also spoken of their “frustration” after discovering the new quarantine rules.

Georgina Thomas, a fully-vaccinated nurse from Buckinghamshire has been visiting her parents in the countryside between La Rochelle and Bordeaux for the last three weeks with her one-year-old daughter Grace.

“I’m frustrated with the inconsistent approach the Government are taking, it doesn’t all appear logical,” the 32-year-old told the PA news agency.

“If a quarantine is necessary then so be it but I’m confident that my risk will be higher when I return to the UK.

“I hope people don’t see this as a disincentive to be vaccinated, it’s still so important.”

Debbie from Essex, who did not wish to share her second name, runs a chalet with her family in France which is set to take a financial hit as a result of the UK’s new Covid isolation rules.

“We started in January 2020 so we haven’t had a chance to get going,” the 49-year-old told PA.

“Bookings were just starting to pick up and we’ve been helped by European guests but this affects our vaccinated UK guests”.

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