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HEALTH

What transport services are running from France to the UK?

Travel from the UK into France is banned, but going the other way is still possible - but are any services still running? Here's a roundup.

What transport services are running from France to the UK?
Quarantine still applies to people entering the UK from France. Photo: AFP

France on Sunday announced that it was suspending all travel from the UK for an initial period of 48 hours – with the ban covering both passengers and accompanied freight and arrivals by air, rail, road or sea.

READ ALSO France's UK travel ban – who is affected and what happens next?

Travel from France to the UK is still allowed.  

But anticipating mass cancellations of people unable to get back, transport operators have already begun cutting services that are running from France to the UK.

Here's a look at what is still running:

Channel Tunnel

The Tunnel's Folkstone terminal is completely closed to both passengers and freight.

However departures are running hourly from Calais on Monday and Tuesday. Prices are high though – from €165 to €265 for a one-way trip.

READ ALSO Travel chaos in Europe – which countries have imposed bans on arrivals from the UK?

Eurostar

The Eurostar's three destination countries – France, Belgium and the Netherlands – have all banned arrivals from the UK so there are no trains running out of the UK towards Europe.

Going the other way there are no services from Amsterdam, Brussels or Lille, but trains will be running from Paris to London.

There will be four trains per day and prices start at €200 for a one-way trip.

Ferries

On Monday morning, ferries were still allowed transport unaccompanied freight to France, but accompanied freight – ie lorry cargo – was banned.

Passenger services from France to the UK were on Monday morning still listed as running as normal on DFDS, P&O and Brittany Ferries websites, although services may be reduced over the next two days.

Later in the afternoon, P&O announced that they had suspended their services for 48 hours, as the Dover Port was closed to all traffic leaving the UK.

 

Flights 

Airlines are still permitted to fly from France to the UK but the combination of a collapse in demand and the logistical problems of not being able to do return flights has lead to many airlines cancelling their services over the next two days.

Easyjet is not accepting any bookings from France to the UK for Monday or Tuesday and many passengers who were due to fly today or tomorrow have already been notified that their flights are cancelled.

Ryanair says it will be running some flights between December 20th and 24th on routes that are permitted, and any customers whose flight is cancelled with be notified. No flights were listed as available from France to the UK for December 21st or 22nd.

Air France was listing a limited number of flights available from Paris to London with prices starting at €220. The airline says tickets are 100 percent reimbursable.

British Airways describes itself as operating a 'reduced and dynamic' schedule and advises customers with pre-booked flights to check the status of their bookings online. It was on Monday morning accepting bookings on a single daily flight from Paris to London.

Travel restrictions

If you are going to the UK you need to fill in a contact locator form before arriving at the border – find the form here – and quarantine on arrival.

London, parts of south east England and Wales have all tightened up their health restrictions in recent days and in Scotland tougher restrictions start on December 26th. Find more details on the rules here.

This article is based on the latest information provided by transport operators – anyone who has a trip booked is advised to check directly with their operator.

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POLITICS

‘Public opinion is ready’ – These French senators want to legalise marijuana

A group of 31 French senators of the Socialist, Green and Republican parties have come together to write a statement calling for the legalisation of marijuana in France.

'Public opinion is ready' - These French senators want to legalise marijuana

France is known for having some of the strictest laws regarding marijuana consumption in Europe – while simultaneously maintaining one of the highest rates of cannabis usage in the EU. 

A group of French senators – coming from the Socialist, Green and centre-right Les Républicains parties – are trying to change those laws, and have come together to call for marijuana to be legalised in France.

The group of 31 co-signed a statement published in French newspaper, Le Monde, on Wednesday, August 10th.

In the statement, the senators promised to launch a ‘consultation process’ to submit a bill to legalise marijuana “in the coming months.”

The proposition was headed by Senator Gilbert-Luc Devinaz, a member of the Socialist Party, and gained support from the party’s leader, Patrick Kanner.

READ MORE: The long and winding road towards changing France’s cannabis laws

A report by the Assemblé Nationale, which was published in May 2021, estimated that nearly 18 million French people (more than 25 percent of the population) had already consumed marijuana, and that an additional 1.5 million consume it regularly.

This, coupled with the 2019 finding that nearly one in two French people (45 percent) said they were in favour of legalisation, according to a survey by the French Observatory of Drugs and Drug Addiction (OFDT), helped strengthen the senators’ position.

“Public opinion is ready, the legislature must act,” they wrote.

Their senators argue that legalising marijuana in France will allow the authorities to better protect French citizens, saying that legalising would not require “minimising the health impacts of cannabis consumption” but rather would allow regulation similar to “public policies for tobacco, alcohol or gambling.”

For the group of 31 senators, the benefits of legalisation would involve a better control over the “health quality of products consumed,” “curbing trafficking in disadvantaged areas,” developing large-scale prevention plans,” and finally the taxation of cannabis products and redirection of law enforcement resources. Decriminalisation – in their opinion – would not be sufficient as this would simply “deprive authorities the ability to act,” in contrast to legalisation. 

READ MORE: Is France moving towards legalising cannabis for recreational purposes?

“In the long term, new tax revenues would be generated from the cannabis trade and from savings in the justice and police sectors”, which would make it possible to mobilize “significant resources for prevention as well as for rehabilitation and economic development,” wrote the senators.

In France, the conversation around cannabis has evolved in recent years – former Health Minister (and current government spokesman) Olivier Véran said to France Bleu in September 2021 that “countries that have gone towards legalisation have results better than those of France in the last ten years,” adding that he was interested in the potential therapeutic use of cannabis.

Currently, the drug is illegal in France. Previously, it fell under a 1970-law of illicit drug use, making it punishable with up to a year prison and an up to €3,750 fine.

However, in 2020, the government softened the penalties, making it possible for those caught consuming it to opt for an on-the-spot fine of €200.

There is also an ongoing trial involving 3,000 patients to test the impacts of medical marijuana usage, particularly with regard to pain relief. 

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