Stepped up security for the Euro 16 football tournament is being felt already around the Continent.
Also, Ford recreates the Le Mans circuit around Paris. And quick news on Calais + Scandinavian migrants; new EU-funded Dutch road widening; possible road tolls due for all vehicles in Belgium; persistent Norovirus on Baltic ferry and relaxed truck ban in Bulgaria.
DRIVING TO EURO 2016
Stepped up security a problem for everyone during Euro16, not just fans.
Security is sure to cast a long shadow over the Euro16 football tournament in France from this weekend, and not just for fans attending the matches.
Germany has already stepped up border controls with Austria after several weeks without regular queues.
Drivers have typically waited more than half an hour at the three motorway crossings.
However, with the exception of the E19 across the Belgian border into Lille, there have been no noticeable border delays around France – yet – though Spanish hauliers have complained of delays on the A1-A63 Atlantic coast motorway in the past few days.
And, unusually, there have been queues at passport control in Dover this week.
Meanwhile, as is now common practice at high profile public events in Europe, exclusion zones will be set up around the stadiums ahead of the Euro16 matches plus restricted circulation and parking.
Each of the ten venues in the nine cities hosting the competition around France has its own traffic plan – see Lille, Lens (English), Paris (Saint-Denis, Parc des Princes), Lyon – Saint-Etienne, Bordeaux, Toulouse, Marseille and Nice.
The advice is to get there early. The stadiums are open three hours ahead of matches and the ‘fan zones’ even before that.
Security is not just aimed at preventing terrorism but hooliganism too hence restrictions on alcohol sales.
For instance, for every match played in Lens near Lille during the tournament there will be a 24 hour alcohol ban in place with police even searching cars entering the city.
In Bordeaux the sale of takeaway spirits is banned 20:00-08:00 in the whole of the Gironde region, plus no drinking around the train station and airport, or around the stadium and fan zone 11:00-07:00, or outside of licensed premises from midnight before match days until 08:00 the morning after.
The bigger problem is fear of terrorism rather than an actual attack, but – should the worst happen – the French interior ministry has just published a new, free app – SAIP – which will send a notification to fans in the vicinity of an emergency.
Resources: the British embassy has its own ‘Football Liaison Officer’ John Sykes who has visited all the venues and posts a regular blog (as well as the FCO ‘Be On The Ball Euro16‘ site). Also follow @UKinFrance on twitter and @FCOTravel advice. More info on the venues is available on the UEFA website. Eurotunnel also has a guide to Euro16.
roundup: a transport advisory group in Flanders, northern Belgium, has recommended extending the new electronic truck toll system to all vehicles in order to meet climate targets reports Flanders Today. The MORA Mobility Council of Flanders is a broad church of interested parties from the Touring motoring club, to councils, unions and green groups. Belgium got as far as trialling a GPS-based road toll system before the most recent general election… Despite reports from Sweden this week that fewer migrants were attempting the crossing from Denmark by secreting themselves on trucks, reports from the latter say it is still an issue according to the Copenhagen Post… The €300 million widening project of the A6 where it connects to the A1 Amsterdam-Schiphol airport link at Almere in the Netherlands will be part-guaranteed by the EFSI European Fund for Strategic Investments, i.e. an €80 million loan from the EIB European Investment Bank… Norovirus has reappeared on the Baltic Silja Symphony Helsinki-Stockholm cruiseferry despite best efforts to clean the ship, and the port terminals reports YLE News… Calais migrants have taken the worrying extra step of adding gas bottles to the burning piles of rubbish they throw onto the port road almost nightly reports Lloyd’s Loading List. The numbers of police patrolling has decreased in recent months says the paper though a new fence to protect the port road should be completed by mid-month… The ban on trucks when temperatures exceed 35 degrees in Bulgaria is to be lifted reports Novinite. Transit trucks will also be allowed to drive at the weekend – except for in cities, and on accident prone stretches of road – police, hauliers and the authorities have agreed.