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TRAVEL - ROADS: KENT - J11A / M20 Channel Tunnel - queues because of strike at Port of Calais

The closure of the Port of Calais because of industrial action in France has had a knock-on effect in Kent.

There is queueing traffic and one lane is blocked due to freight traffic queueing for the Channel Tunnel on M20 coastbound at J11A.

At the Channel Tunnel, M20 J11a, the queue is back on to the main M20 in lane one (of three) and the A20 is slow in to Dover.

Channel Tunnel trouble

Tunnel passengers are facing delays after services were suspended for a time when an alarm went off as a freight shuttle train passed through.

Passenger and freight shuttle trains as well as Eurostar high-speed services were halted as technicians checked the France-bound train, which stopped around mid-tunnel.

"An alarm in the tunnel soundedbut no fault was found with the shuttle when it was checked out. It's amoderately-busy day or us and there will be delays of around 40-60 minutes for a whilebut we hope to be back to normal running soon."

– A Eurotunnel spokesman

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£10m worth of cosmetics seized at Channel Tunnel

Border Force officers at the Channel Tunnel entrance in France have seized around 578 boxes of counterfeit cosmetic gift sets with a potential value of up to £10 million.

The seizure was made in the early hours of 28 August as officers carried out checks on a Dutch-registered vehicle en route to a business park in Newcastle-under-Lyme.

These cosmetics were seized at the Channel Tunnel Credit: Home Office
These cosmetics were seized at the Channel Tunnel Credit: Home Office

The Border Force team inspected the load and it soon became clear that the cosmetic sets and their packaging were of inferior quality.

The goods were seized and the investigation has been passed to Kent County Council Trading Standards.

“I would like to praise my officers for their vigilance in identifying these fakes. Counterfeit goods cause damage to legitimate businesses and traders and they leave customers out of pocket with inferior and possibly dangerous goods. Border Force will continue to play a key role in fighting and disrupting serious and organised crime and protecting the UK’s economy.”

– Paul Morgan, Director of Border Force South East and Europe

“This is one of the biggest hauls of counterfeit goods we have ever encountered. As soon as we examined the items, it was clear from errors with the labelling and instructions that the cosmetics were definitely fake. The makes involved include Dior, Chanel, Bobbi Brown and MAC. We have now sent samples for testing so that we can determine whether these cosmetics were actually dangerous as well as counterfeit. Protecting UK businesses and consumers from this organised crime is an important aspect of our work and this seizure is a clear demonstration of the value of the partnership between KCC Trading Standards and the Border Force.”

– KCC Trading Standards Manager Mark Rolfe

Celebrations mark 20 years of the Channel Tunnel

The Channel Tunnel has been open for 20 years Credit: Chris Ison/PA Wire/Press Association Images

The Channel Tunnel is celebrating its 20th anniversary today.

Exactly 20 years ago the Queen became one of the first passengers to cross from Kent to France by train through the 23.5 mile tunnel.

Shuttles transport cars, coaches and lorries between England and France along twin railway tunnels. Eurostar also uses the Channel Tunnel to run high speed rail services from London to Paris and Brussels.

Since opening more than 330 million passengers have used the tunnel, with more than 65 million vehicles, 20 million of those being trucks.

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Trains cancelled due to Channel Tunnel delays

Eurostar has had to cancel six trains today - two from London to Paris, two from Paris to London, one from London to Brussels and one from Brussels to London.

The Channel Tunnel trouble came as millions took to the roads at the start of the holiday, with the weekend likely to see as many as 16 million cars on the move.

Delays on Channel Tunnel crossings

Two separate incidents have led to hours-long delays to those taking Folkestone-Calais shuttle trains and high-speed Eurostar services between London and Paris and Brussels via the tunnel.

The first problem came earlier today when a fatality near Lille in northern France involving a French high-speed train resulted in diversions and delays to Eurostar trains.

Then, just as Eurostar services were getting back to normal, a Eurotunnel passenger shuttle train broke down in the tunnel leading to further delays to Eurostar services and long hold-ups of up to four hours for shuttle-train passengers.

Drugs seized at the Channel Tunnel

A 42-year-old Dutch man has been charged with drug smuggling after Border Force officers at the Channel Tunnel entrance in Coquelles, France seized drugs with an estimated street value in excess of £5 million.

Exact quantities are still being assessed but the haul included heroin, amphetamine and cannabis.

The drugs were discovered on Saturday when officers stopped and searched a Dutch-registered lorry. The drugs were found in brown cardboard boxes within the vehicle’s load of empty plastic containers.

Hendrik DEKKER, from Nijkerk, Netherlands, appeared at Folkestone Magistrates Court yesterday, charged with the importation.

He pleaded not guilty and was remanded in custody.

Paul Morgan, Director of Border Force South East and Europe said:

“This was an excellent seizure by our officers and it has kept a large amount of harmful drugs off our streets.

“We will continue to work hard to keep our borders safe and crack down on drug smuggling.”

Tunnel workers treated for carbon monoxide poisoning

Channel Tunnel Credit: PA

French officials say nineteen workers have suffered carbon monoxide poisoning while working overnight in the Channel Tunnel, with one of them in a serious condition.

The incident happened as some 60 workers were changing rail tracks on the line between Calais, France, and Folkestone.

A welder was taken ill in the early hours of Sunday and carbon monoxide poisoning was later diagnosed.

Tunnel traffic was unaffected.

Eighteen other workers have also been taken ill.

An investigation has been launched into the cause of the incident.

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