The UK Border Force denies responsibility for two hour queues at Calais over the weekend as car drivers are put among migrant gangs for the first time.
Another family claim to have been gassed at a roadside rest area in France. Truckers vow to fight ‘Ecotaxe Light’. The Land Rover Grand Alpine Tour comes to an end. Why the SLR Club deserves to be called one of the best touring clubs in the world. SpongeBob gets revenge on a Russian road rage driver. Russian highways are to be used as military landing strips for the first time as passports and driving licences are combined in a new ‘Multipass’.
BORDER FORCE SHIFTS BLAME FOR CALAIS QUEUES
Car drivers now also running gamut of illegal migrants.
Returning passengers suffered delays of more than two hours at Calais passport controls on Saturday evening.
Queues of up to ninety minutes were also reported at the Eurotunnel terminal in Coquelles, and long delays for incoming passengers in Portsmouth.
While delays at border controls are to be expected at peak holiday times, not only were the queues much longer than usual – stretching out to the A16 motorway – but they lasted well past the weekend rush.
(update Wednesday 3 September: this morning, passengers at Calais waited up to 90 minutes with MyFerryLink advising customers to arrive two hours before departure.)
However, a Border Force spokeswoman tells @DriveEurope today it was ‘business as usual’ for the agency over the weekend and that all passport booths were open and fully manned (as confirmed to us by a ferry operator). She suggested we speak to the port authorities about the queues.
Meanwhile, she pointedly refused to confirm that UK Border Force has stepped up its inspection regime due to the on-going migrant crisis in Calais.
For the first time, the border queues put car drivers in among the groups of illegal migrants congregating at the port entrance. One operator told us a driver in a convertible car with the roof down was surrounded and had items stolen from the back seat.
roundup: FRANCE. A family from Bristol claims to have been gassed and had items stolen from their campervan while parked at the Aire de la Bouble on the A71 between Bourges and Clermont Ferrand. It’s one of a number of cases reported this year. The Camping and Caravanning Club advises avoiding staying overnight at autoroute Aires but admits to being ‘a little sceptical of the issue as a whole’. A Royal College of Anaesthetists report says ‘tankerloads’ of gas would be needed. Meanwhile, truckers’ unions in Alsace have vowed to fight the new ‘Ecotaxe Light’ toll system. RUSSIA. Highways that double as military runways are common in former Eastern Bloc countries – Bulgaria has ten, Ukraine has a few too – but not in Russia itself. This week, as part of an exercise, an aircraft will land on a federal highway for the first time ever says RIA Novosti, in the Primorsky district, around Vladivostok in the far east. Also, plans are afoot to replace the passport, driving licence, medial insurance, pension and registration certificate with a new ‘Multipass’ from the start of next year. MALTA. Free wifi is now available on all three Gozo Channel ferries and at the terminals.
Chelyabinsk in south west Russia – a road rage driver gets more than he bargained for courtesy of SpongeBob SquarePants and friends. Dashcam vids from Chelyabinsk previously best known for the meteor strike last February.
GIBRALTAR FRONTIER WATCH: quiet overnight. Delay 2h30 at 12:00 and 1h45 at 19:30.