Juxtaposed border controls cause concern

Kent has always been unique in the eyes of its residents. However, post-Brexit, we now have a more significant relevance in that we have two of the UK’s three juxtaposed borders. This may lead you to ask: what are they and why does it matter?

In our case, a juxtaposed border is where another country has its border control point on UK soil. Those of you who have travelled out from Dover, Eurotunnel or Eurostar at St Pancras Station will know that you pass through the UK passport control booth and then the French passport control before boarding the ferry or train, leaving the ferry or train at the other end and heading straight onto the road without further checks or stops.

So far, all very dull. The reason why this set-up works so well is that it accelerates the flow of traffic and minimises delay. A quick flash of your passport, a gallic shrug and then you’re on your way. Bon voyage.

However, the ‘B word’ continues to make its presence felt as 6 October 2024 will see the introduction of the European Entry Exit System (EES), which will require all non-EU passport holders to undergo biometric checks before passing through these juxtaposed controls.  

This will involve getting out of the car, scanning your fingerprints and face and getting a nod from the French Border Officials, before getting back in your car and continuing your journey.

In an operation where minutes count towards the smooth flow of traffic and impact on the road network of Kent, this is an unwelcome addition to the process of exiting the UK. Moreover, this is an element over which we have no control since it is an EU-wide initiative. So, even if you decide to travel by plane, when you land at your EU destination, be prepared to undergo the same checks.

The Chamber is working closely with the Port of Dover and Eurotunnel to ensure that travellers are aware of the forthcoming changes, and where further government support is required, that ministers are fully briefed on the potential impact.

Significant investment has been made by Eurotunnel and Dover to mitigate the impact but there’s only so much they can do, and it is incumbent on both domestic and commercial travellers to be prepared.

To find out more about what the impact might be and what is being done, keep an eye on the Chamber’s events pages and register for one of our briefings.

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