The Port of Dover has called on the government to share the “rules of the game” when it comes to post-Brexit checks.
Chief executive Doug Bannister told a Commons’ transport select committee that the port has not received enough information about the EU’s entry-exit system, which will be implemented from May.
Under the new system, all non-EU passport holders will need to have their biometric data – including fingerprints and photo taken – registered the first time they enter one of the member states.
“We need the rules of the game,” Bannister told MPs on Wednesday.
“We [also] need to see what the technology is going to be like and [we need] a sufficient amount of time to trial, test and train to use that technology before implementation.”
Bannister said Dover authorities will attend a demonstration in Calais in the next couple of weeks but they haven’t received any other information.
“I know activity is ongoing but, as I sit in front of the panel today, we don’t have that answer,” he added.
The Home Office told City A.M. it was working with all stakeholders – including port authorities and the French government – “to make sure passengers are prepared and do not experience unnecessary delays at the border due to new entry and exit system checks being introduced next year.”
When grilled by committee chairman Huw Merriman about waiting times, the chief executive said it was difficult to estimate how long controls would take but he believed it would be around 10 minutes per car, up from the current 90 seconds.
The new technology would impact UK holidaymakers the most, as between 60 and 70 per cent of the tourists passing through the port are British.
Hundreds of Britons saw their holiday plans ruined in July as they were stuck in hour-long bottlenecks on their way to the port due to inadequate numbers of French border police.