Transport Secretary Grant Shapps says the UK border will remain open over Christmas.

image copyrightNem vagyunk HUNtalanok
image captionAbout 4,000 lorries have been parked at Manston Airport overnight
It could take days to clear the backlog of lorries waiting to cross to France, drivers have been warned by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.
About 4,000 lorries are parked at Manston Airport in Kent, with another 2,300 being held on the M20 after the French closed their border with the UK.
All drivers are now required to test negative for Covid-19 before being allowed to make the crossing.
Police have
clashed with drivers, who had spent days in their cabs.
Operation Stack has been put in place on the M20 allowing lorries queuing for the Port of Dover and Eurotunnel terminal to be held on the motorway.
Mr Shapps said the UK-French border would remain open over Christmas in a bid to clear the backlog of lorries.
As well as ensuring ferries will now sail on Christmas & Boxing Day, we’ve also got great cooperation by French firemen working with NHS Test & Trace and our brilliant military in a big effort to clear the backlog created by the French border closure:
— Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP (@grantshapps) December 24, 2020
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter
He said: “It will take several days to clear the backlog.
“The one thing that people can do is not turn up in Kent; it won’t get you through faster, indeed it will make things more difficult on the ground.
“The testing is happening and the negative tests are coming through now, and with police’s help clearing the entrance to Dover, the traffic is able to move, and with Eurotunnel’s help, things are just starting to move.
“It’s never going to be a quick operation.”
The head of the Road Haulage Association says he sympathises with the small number of lorry drivers who clashed with police in Dover on Wednesday.
Richard Burnett told the BBC: “I really feel for these drivers that have ended up being pawns in a larger game.
“Are they going to be held here until Boxing Day or beyond?”
At the scene: Simon Jones, BBC South East
Testing has started but the numbers of lorries caught up in this has actually increased. In all the side roads around Manston Airport there are lorries pretty much everywhere and all the lay-bys are full of lorries too.
Grant Shapps said clearing all this would be a mammoth operation but perhaps that’s an underestimation.
Although lorries are now leaving the Manston Airport site, testing does take some time, and the reality is, many drivers will spend Christmas in their cabs.
The coastbound carriageway of the M20 is closed between junction eight and the A20 at Hawkinge.
The London-bound carriageway is also shut between junction nine for Ashford and junction eight for Leeds Castle, with traffic being diverted on to the A20.
All EU freight traffic heading to the Port of Dover and Eurotunnel Terminals is being redirected to Manston Airfield, Highways England said.
Freight traffic on the M25 is being told to use the M2 and A2.
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