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Channel logjam ‘over by Saturday’ as truckers arrive in Calais

More than a thousand lorries arrived at the French port of Calais on Friday as authorities scrambled to ease a bottleneck in Britain, where thousands of drivers have been stuck for days after France imposed tougher coronavirus rules.

Channel logjam 'over by Saturday' as truckers arrive in Calais
Trucks arrive via the Channel Tunnel at the port of Calais on Christmas Day. Photo: Francois Lo Presti/AFP
The port remained open despite the Christmas holiday so that ferries as well as the trains bringing trucks through the Channel Tunnel could operate — but only for trips from Britain to France.
   
“Yesterday, we had 1,000 lorries cross over from Dover. As of 6:00 pm (1700 GMT) we had 1,400 lorries from Britain,” Benoit Rochet, head of the Calais port operator, told AFP. “At this rate, the situation should be completely taken care of by tomorrow,” he said.
   
Getlink, the Eurotunnel operator, said more than 1,000 trucks had transited the tunnel in both directions by 5:00 pm, two thirds of which had travelled from England to France.
 
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Most of the drivers headed straight for the highway, according to an AFP journalist at the scene.
   
Truckers were stranded in southeast England after France halted all travel from Britain on Sunday for 48 hours in a bid to prevent a new strain of coronavirus, which experts fear to be more contagious, from reaching its shores.
   
The move created a massive logjam with up to 10,000 trucks parked along highways as well as on the runway of the Manston airfield, according to EU transport commissioner Adina Valean, who criticised the French government's
decision.
   
Drivers fumed at having to spend Christmas in their cabs away from their families with only minimal toilet facilities because they were unable to get the Covid-19 tests that must be negative to be allowed into France.
   
More than 10,000 tests had been carried out by Friday afternoon, of which 24 were positive, according to the British authorities.
   
Twenty-five French firefighters were again dispatched to Dover on Friday to help carry out tests, following a first team sent over Thursday.
 
   
France's Transport Minister Jean-Baptiste Djebbari tweeted that more than 1,000 Christmas Eve meals had also been sent to stranded drivers, distributed with the help of French Red Cross volunteers.
   
Britain's defence ministry said Friday that an additional 800 personnel had been deployed on top of 300 already on site to step up coronavirus tests for drivers and “help clear the backlog of vehicles.”
   
“There is a need for increased testing as more vehicles continue to arrive every hour,” the ministry said on Twitter, adding that the teams would also deliver food and water to drivers waiting to return home.

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BREXIT

French government clarifies post-Brexit rules on pets for second-home owners

Brexit hasn't just brought about changes in passport rules for humans, pets are also affected and now the French government has laid out the rules for pet passports for British second-home owners.

French government clarifies post-Brexit rules on pets for second-home owners

Pre-Brexit, people travelling between France and the UK could obtain an EU Pet Passport for their car, dog or ferret which ensured a hassle-free transport experience.

But since the UK left the EU things have become more complicated – and a lot more expensive – for UK residents wanting to travel to France with pets.

You can find a full breakdown of the new rules HERE, but the main difference for people living in the UK is that that they now need an Animal Health Certificate for travel.

Unlike the Pet Passport, a new ACH is required for each trip and vets charge around £100 (€118) for the certificate. So for people making multiple trips a year, especially those who have more than one pet, the charges can quickly mount up.

UK nationals who live in France can still benefit from the EU Pet Passport, but until now the situation for second-home owners has been a little unclear.

However the French Agriculture ministry has now published updated information on its website.

The rules state: “The veterinarian can only issue a French passport to an animal holding a UK/EU passport issued before January 1st, 2021, after verifying that the animal’s identification number has been registered in the Fichier national d’identification des carnivores domestiques (I-CAD).”

I-CAD is the national database that all residents of France must register their pets in – find full details HERE.

The ministry’s advice continues: “If not registered, the veterinarian may proceed to register the animal in I-CAD, if the animal’s stay in France is longer than 3 consecutive months, in accordance with Article 22 of the AM of August 1st, 2012 on the identification of domestic carnivores.”

So if you are staying in France for longer than 90 days (which usually requires a visa for humans) your pet can be registered and get a Pet Passport, but those staying less than three months at a time will have to continue to use the AHC.

The confusion had arisen for second-home owners because previously some vets had been happy to issue the Passport using proof of a French address, such as utility bills. The Ministry’s ruling, however, makes it clear that this is not allowed.

So here’s a full breakdown of the rules;

Living in France

If you are living in France full time your pet is entitled to an EU Pet Passport regardless of your nationality (which means your pet has more travel rights than you do. Although they probably still rely on you to drive the car/book the ferry tickets).

Your cat, dog or ferret must be fully up to date with their vaccinations and must be registered in the national pet database I-CAD (full details here).

Once issued, the EU Pet Passport is valid for the length of the animal’s life, although you must be sure to keep up with their rabies vaccinations. Vets in France usually charge between €50-€100 for a consultation and completing the Passport paperwork.

Living in the UK

If you are living in the UK and travelling to France (or the rest of the EU) you will need an Animal Health Certificate for your cat, dog or ferret.

The vaccination requirements are the same as for the EU Pet Passport, but an ACH is valid for only 10 days after issue for entry to the EU (and then for four months for onward travel within the EU).

So if you’re making multiple trips in a year you will need a new certificate each time.

UK vets charge around £100 (€118) for a certificate, although prices vary between practices. Veterinary associations in the UK are also warning of delays in issuing certificates as many people begin travelling again after the pandemic (often with new pets bought during lockdown), so you will need to book in advance. 

Second-home owners

Although previously some French vets had been happy to issue certificates with only proof of an address in France, the French government has now clarified the rules on this, requiring that pets be registered within the French domestic registry in order to get an EU Pet Passport.

This can only be done if the pet is staying in France for more than three months. The three months must be consecutive, not over the course of a year.

UK pets’ owners will normally require a visa if they want to stay in France for more than three months at a time (unless they have dual nationality with an EU country) – find full details on the rules for people HERE.

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