Dover is suing the government over the checkpoints

The Port of Dover is taking legal action to overturn a “reckless” government decision not to fund the ,5 33.5m project to build more passport offices, which it says are needed to overcome immigration controls after Brexit.

The UK Port Port, which handles more EU trucks than any other UK port, has won the right to appeal to the Cabinet. decision last December Do not provide funds for a program that will double the ability to verify passports.

Dover applied for a 200 200 million grant from the Port Infrastructure Fund last September, but was turned down after the foundation withdrew applications worth more than 450 450 million.

Asking the court for permission to overturn the decision, Dover’s lawyers said the government had “acted irrationally”, “against the published standards of the Port Infrastructure Fund”, as it had acted “procedurally unfairly”.

Advocates for the UK government have asked the court to reject Dover’s application, arguing that the government has “a wide discretion” in deciding which applications to accept and that Dover’s application does not meet the full requirements of the fund’s article.

However, the High Court judge ruled that Dover raised issues that were “disputable” in court and allowed the case to be heard. Dover is trying to overturn the government’s initial decision to reconsider their application.

The case raises the possibility of significant corridor traffic disruptions when the number of passengers increases after the Covid-19 restrictions are lifted. The French border police informed the port that after Brexit, passengers and truck drivers will be subject to a “100% immigration check”.

As a result of leaving the EU, British passport holders can now only spend 180 days in the EU for any 180 days without a visa, requiring passports to obtain an entry date stamp, increasing the time required for checks.

Speaking in court, Dover said the UK Border Patrol had warned that the new checks could reduce the “flow rate” through Dover passport belts to “50 people per hour” before the Brexit 500 flow by about one-tenth. per hour on each line.

Dover currently has only five passport zones, and can handle up to 20,000 cars a day on busy holidays.

Under special arrangements called “side-by-side controls” designed to expedite the English Channel, border immigration checks are being carried out in Dover, France, so that passengers can land non-stop when they reach Calais.

Report of the National Audit Office last November He said new Brexit checks could mean queues for passengers from one to two hours after January 1, but warned that “queues and delays could be much longer” during peak periods.

Travel restrictions imposed by the Covid-19 epidemic mean that NAO estimates have not been tested. The lack of passenger vehicles has also facilitated freight traffic, with trucks currently using four of the five routes available, with only one Brexit lane.

Tim Reardon, head of EU exit planning in Dover, said that the French border police had requested additional pavilions and that the UK government was obliged to provide them under the Counter-Control Agreement.

“This project can be used to maintain the flow of cargo and direct traffic. Now, after Brexit, full immigration control is required. “As the host of the French police, the British government has a legal obligation to provide them with the resources they need,” he said.

Downing Street said it would not comment on the lawsuit, but added that the government was “strongly” challenging the Dover port claim.

Additional report to Jane and Croft

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