United Kingdom

Brexit: M20 queues for miles as France tests Channel Tunnel controls

Lorry drivers were left stuck in miles of M20 queues as French authorities tested Channel Tunnel border controls they say will be in place if there is no Brexit deal.

Getlink, which operates the Channel Tunnel, said the queues were 'not representative' of a no-deal Brexit, as half of the available lanes were blocked off. 

Highways England also said it had closed the entry and exit sliproads at Junction 11 in Kent today due to the number of HGVs parked on the hard shoulder.

The delays were caused by French authorities 'testing the impact of EU and Schengen immigration controls' at the Eurotunnel terminal in Folkstone in the event of no deal. 

Lorries queueing at the M20 in Kent, waiting to access the Eurotunnel terminal in Folkestone. French authorities tested border controls they say will be in place if there is no Brexit deal

Freight lorries queueing along the M20 in Kent. Getlink said the queues were 'not representative' of a no-deal Brexit however, as half of the available lanes were blocked off

A spokesman for Getlink told MailOnline: 'They [the tests] were carried out by French authorities to test the impact of EU and Schengen immigration controls in the event of a no deal. 

'The queues are not representative however, as they were only using half of the available lanes/booths available.'

The spokesman earlier said: 'The backlog (of traffic) built up this morning during tests conducted by the authorities in preparation for Brexit.'

They added this afternoon that traffic was now flowing 'smoothly' through the terminal and services were operating as normal.

It is understood that further intermittent border tests will be carried out before the Brexit transition period comes to an end on December 31.

Photographs showed dozens of freight lorries queued along the M20. 

Freight lorries queuing along the M20, with two ambulances also seen in one of the lanes. Getlink said this afternoon that traffic was now flowing 'smoothly' through the terminal 

The delays were caused by French authorities testing the impact of EU and Schengen immigration controls at the Eurotunnel terminal in Folkstone in the event of no deal

Freight lorries queuing along the M20 in Kent, while half of the available lanes were blocked off. It is understood that further intermittent border tests will be carried out before the Brexit transition period comes to an end on December 31

Highways England tweeted: 'M20 coastbound at J11 Westenhanger - the entry slip is now closed due to heavy congestion in the area due to delays at Eurotunnel.

'Due to the heavy congestion with HGV's at this location, for safety reasons we have also closed the exit slip at J11 Westenhanger due to the amount of lorry's parking up along the hard shoulder all the way back to exit slip.'

A spokesperson for The Road Haulage Association told MailOnline: 'There is much speculation as to how the motorway network leading to and from the ports will work with or without a deal. 

'The subsequent delays or congestion are unavoidable, but necessary at this time as testing is in progress.'

The Channel Tunnel connects Folkestone to Coquelles near Calais in France.  

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