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London’s mayor urges government to prevent Eurostar travel ‘chaos’


London’s mayor urges government to prevent Eurostar travel ‘chaos’ By Reuters

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Published Feb 10, 2024 06:03

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: London Mayor Sadiq Khan walks on the day he gives evidence at the COVID-19 Inquiry, in London, Britain, November 27, 2023. REUTERS/Belinda Jiao/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) – London Mayor Sadiq Khan called on Britain’s government to take steps to prevent “chaos” on the Eurostar rail link with France when the European Union is expected to introduce a new system of biometric border controls later this year.

The EU’s checks mean that travellers from countries outside the bloc – including Britain since it left in 2020 – will have to register biometrics, including facial and fingerprint scans, at their first point of entry.

Earlier this week, HS1, the owner and operator of the rail line and stations between London and the Channel tunnel, said that the checks could lead to long delays on Eurostar trains, as well as a capping of services and passenger numbers.

Khan said British ministers should provide support to HS1 and Eurostar to resolve any issues, warning any delays would damage London’s retail and leisure industries, particularly in the run up to the Christmas trading period.

“The success of the Eurostar is a vital part of London’s and the UK’s economic success,” Khan said. “As it stands these new post-Brexit checks will cause chaos.”

Eurostar, which runs passenger rail services linking London to Paris and other European capitals, said in 2022 that peak capacity in London fell by 30% when border checks were introduced after Brexit.

London’s mayor urges government to prevent Eurostar travel ‘chaos’

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