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Easter weekend travel: Grant Shapps warns Britons UK's transport network will be 'extremely busy'

Easter weekend travel: Grant Shapps warns Britons UK's transport network will be 'extremely busy'

Grant Shapps has today warned Britons to brace for an Easter weekend travel nightmare, with the potential of clogged roads, airport understaffing and huge disruption at the Port of Dover.

The Transport Secretary today warned the country’s travel network is likely to be ‘extremely busy’ this weekend – the first double bank holiday since the ending of England’s Covid measures.

What are the travel pinch points Britons face this weekend?

Roads

As many as 21.5million leisure trips are expected to be made by car between Good Friday and Easter Monday. Usual pinch points, including A303 Stonehenge, the M6 north between Liverpool and The Lake District, and the M25 clockwise around Heathrow Airport.

Trains

Rail passengers are also being warned of Easter delays as Network Rail carries out 530 engineering projects costing a total of £83million. There will also be major disruption on Transpennine services due to industrial action, while London’s Piccadilly Line and Gatwick Express will disrupt travel to and from both Heathrow and Gatwick.

Airports

Industry chiefs are warning of more queues and delays at UK airports this week due to ongoing staffing issues. The union representing Border Force officials, the Immigration Services Union (ISU), is also warning that ‘catastrophic understaffing’ and an influx of passengers returning to the UK after the Easter school holidays could lead to long queues at Border Control. 

The Port of Dover  

Channel crossings have been delayed in recent weeks since P&O Ferries stopped its movements from Dover to Calais in the aftermath of its decision to sack 800 of its crew without notice. The emergency Operation Brock Zero, which closes off traffic to non-freight vehicles on the M20 in order to stack lorries wanting to cross the Channel, has been activated and remains in place. P&O had planned to restart its crossings in time for Good Friday. But the firm suffered a setback today when it was announced the Maritime and Coastguard Agency had detained a second vessel over safety fears. 

 

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As many as 21.5 million leisure trips are expected to be made by car between Good Friday and Easter Monday, according to the RAC.

And Kent in particular could be badly hit, with P&O Ferries today having a second vessel detained over safety fears.

The announcement, by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA), has thrown into doubt plans by P&O Ferries to restart Channel crossings ahead of Good Friday.

The firm suspended Dover to Calais sailings last month after controversially sacking 800 seafarers without notice, leading to a build up of freight vehicles at the Port of Dover.

Meanwhile airports, which have already faced weeks of disruption due to staffing issues, could also be hit once more.

Millions of Britons are set to jet-off or arrive back in the UK across the four-day weekend – the first major holiday since the Government lifted all international travel restrictions.

Border Force union chiefs have already sounded the alarm, warning passengers they face long queues at Passport Control due to ‘catastrophic understaffing’. 

Rail passengers are also being warned of Easter delays as Network Rail carries out 530 engineering projects costing a total of £83million. 

Today, in a round of morning interviews, Mr Shapps warned Britons that roads, ports and airports were likely to be ‘extremely busy this weekend’.

He also took aim at transport chiefs, saying he was ‘concerned’ that ports and airports had not managed to get ‘up to strength’ since the lifting of Covid measures. 

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, he said: ‘I think certainly this weekend will be extremely busy on our roads, potentially at our ports, and of course, particularly at Dover, where P&O disgracefully sacked all of their staff and then attempted to run ships that wouldn’t have been safe with replacements below minimum wage.

‘We know none of their ships are running at the moment. So I do expect there to be disruption, with no thanks to P&O there.

‘It is also the case for the very first time that Brits are able to travel much more freely that other nations because we don’t have Covid restrictions now that other places have to travel.

‘People want to travel. I’m very concerned the operators, the airlines, the airports, the ports, do ensure that they get back to strength and quickly. 

Grant Shapps (pictured) has today warned Britons to brace for an Easter weekend travel nightmare, with clogged roads, airport understaffing and huge disruption at the Port of Dover

Grant Shapps (pictured) has today warned Britons to brace for an Easter weekend travel nightmare, with clogged roads, airport understaffing and huge disruption at the Port of Dover

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) says it has detained The Spirit of Britain (pictured left) in the Port of Dover after finding deficiencies' during a safety inspection. It is the second of the firm's ferries to fail a safety test by the MCA, following its decision to detain The Pride of Kent (pictured foreground)

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) says it has detained The Spirit of Britain (pictured left) in the Port of Dover after finding deficiencies’ during a safety inspection. It is the second of the firm’s ferries to fail a safety test by the MCA, following its decision to detain The Pride of Kent (pictured foreground)

According to the British Meat Processors Association, hotels and supermarket chains on the continent are fed up of waiting and are turning to more reliable suppliers. (Pictured: Freight lorries queue at the Port of Dover on Tuesday)

According to the British Meat Processors Association, hotels and supermarket chains on the continent are fed up of waiting and are turning to more reliable suppliers. (Pictured: Freight lorries queue at the Port of Dover on Tuesday) 

Holidaymakers are again facing 'carnage' at Manchester Airport today, with long check-in queues and delays at the security - while arrivals at Stansted are waiting in 'snail's pace' queues at passport control

Holidaymakers are again facing ‘carnage’ at Manchester Airport today, with long check-in queues and delays at the security – while arrivals at Stansted are waiting in ‘snail’s pace’ queues at passport control

Passengers have told MailOnline that all the e-terminals are currently closed and arrivals are being channeled into a dozen manned desks

Passengers have told MailOnline that all the e-terminals are currently closed and arrivals are being channeled into a dozen manned desks

Pictured: Travel information for this year's Easter weekend

Pictured: Travel information for this year’s Easter weekend 

‘They have lost a lot of people during the pandemic, we have been warning them for a long time that they would need to gear up again.

‘Fine airports for travel shambles’: Calls for government to get tough on aviation industry on another day of mayhem

Consumer groups are calling on the Government to get tough on the aviation industry – including giving authorities the power to fine airlines – as the airport travel ‘shambles’ at airports continues today.

Holidaymakers are again facing ‘carnage’ at Manchester Airport this morning, with long check-in queues and delays at the security – while arrivals at Stansted are waiting in ‘snail’s pace’ queues at passport control.

Pictures show long lines of people waiting along walkways in Manchester Airport’s Terminal 1 in the early hours of this morning. Passengers have also complained of 60-minute long queues at security today.

It comes after passengers at the airport, whose managing director quit earlier this month following weeks of chaos, were yesterday seen queuing outside the terminal building to get through security. 

Meanwhile, at Stansted Airport, arrivals say they have been met with long queues at passport control. Passengers have told MailOnline that all the e-terminals are currently closed and arrivals are being channeled into a dozen manned desks. 

And at Birmingham Airport passengers have fumed at suffering ‘the sh**est experience in the world’ while waiting for their luggage at the Midlands transport hub this morning.

Now consumer chiefs are urging the Government to get tough on the airline industry, who they say must quickly fix the ‘shambles’ – which has been blamed on staff shortages and a sudden surge in demand in air travel.

Rory Boland, editor of Which? Travel, said airlines, airports and the Government must make it a priority to learn from the disarray seen in recent days – ahead of the summer holiday rush later this year.

Mr Boland said: ‘Lessons should be learnt from the travel shambles this Easter. With many in the industry predicting a busy summer, the Government must work with airlines and airports to ensure they have the resources and capacity to handle increased passenger numbers, as there can be no excuse for a repeat of these failings.’

Mr Boland also criticised the Civil Aviation Authority and the Department for Transport, arguing the Government should have handed the aviation regulator fining powers to punish airlines who fail to give compensation to delayed customers.

He said: ‘Airlines wouldn’t be ignoring the law and their passengers’ rights if the aviation regulator had some teeth,’ he said. 

‘The Department for Transport can support consumers by equipping the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) with direct fining powers. 

‘It should also drop its plans to change compensation rules for UK flights which are an important deterrent against passengers being treated unfairly.’ 

Under current rules, passengers delayed by more than three hours, or those whose flights are cancelled at short notice, are entitled to at least £220 in compensation.

They also have the right to be re-routed or refunded, except in ‘extraordinary circumstances’. However consumer groups have claimed that passengers are not always being offered or given what they are entitled to.

Meanwhile, the Department for Transport is also proposing changes to the legislation, which would see compensation capped at the ticket price on domestic routes.  

It comes as passengers today fumed once again at airport disruption, which has seen outgoing passengers face long queues at check-in and security.

Today one passenger at Manchester Airport took to Twitter to complain about 60-minute long security queues at Manchester Airport.

They wrote: ‘Carnage at T1. We were lucky with a pram so bag drop was quick. But security took an hour.’  Another wrote: ‘Poor show at arrivals. Is this the best you can do?’.

Meanwhile, passengers arriving at Stansted Airport this morning faced long queues at passport control.  One passenger, who was stuck in the queue this morning told MailOnline: ‘They have funneled everyone into one queue, whether families or e-passports.

‘It is 2am and my 6 and 9 year old are in tears. They have closed all the e- terminals, and have (it looks like) 15 manned desks open. The queue is going at a snail’s pace.’

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‘I’m very keen to ensure that they manage, what always is at Easter weekend, a very busy weekend on our transport network.’

It comes after a second P&O Ferries vessel was detained in Kent today over safety fears – throwing the company’s plans to restart Channel crossings into doubt.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) says it detained The Spirit of Britain in the Port of Dover after finding ‘deficiencies’ during a safety inspection.

It is the second of the firm’s ferries to fail a safety test by the MCA, following its decision to detain The Pride of Kent.

The decision comes after P&O controversially sacked 800 seafarers without notice last month, leading to Dover to Calais crossings being suspended.

It had planned for the Spirit of Britain to restart crossings again on Thursday, ahead of what is expected to be a busy weekend for Channel crossings.

However, after a two-day reinspection of the Spirit of Britain by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, it has now been confirmed that the vessel has failed a number of key safety tests.

A spokesperson for the MCA said: ‘The Spirit of Britain has been detained due to surveyors identifying a number of deficiencies which were grounds for detention.

‘We have advised P&O to invite us back once they have addressed the issues. We do not know yet when this will be.’ 

The MCA has been making its way through inspections of eight P&O Ferries to ensure they are fit to sail.

The Pride of Hull and European Causeway have been inspected and cleared to sail.

A P&O Ferries spokesperson said: ‘The Spirit of Britain will remain berthed in its current port, following inspections by the Maritime & Coastguard Authority (MCA).

In the past few days, both the European Causeway and the Pride of Hull have been deemed safe to sail by the MCA, and we continue to work with all relevant authorities to return all our ships to service.

We take the safety of our passengers and crew very seriously and look forward to all of our ships welcoming tourist passengers and freight customers again as soon as all mandatory safety tests have been passed.’

The move will be a major setback for P&O Ferries in its plan to restart Dover to Calais ferry crossings.

Officials had hoped to restart Channel crossings on Thursday, following their suspencion in March.

The suspension came after P&O Ferries sacked 800 of its seafaring staff without notice – a move which has sparked criticism, including from Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.

The firm has attempted replaced workers, who are reported to have earned around £36,000 a year, with agency staff from India being paid £1.80 an hour, it was claimed at a Commons select committee last month.

The restarting of crossings is seen as key to avoiding major disruption around the Port of Dover over Easter.

Backlogs of freight traffic and the launch of the Government’s emergency Operation Brock Zero – which sees the M20 in Kent closed to non-freight traffic – has been mostly been caused by the absence of P&O Ferries’ three Dover-based ships.

More backlogs are expected over Easter, with holidaymakers also expected to flock to Dover from Thursday ahead of the four-day Easter weekend.  

It comes as consumer groups are today calling on the Government to get tough on the aviation industry – including giving authorities the power to fine airlines – as the airport travel ‘shambles’ at airports continues today.

Holidaymakers are again facing ‘carnage’ at Manchester Airport this morning, with long check-in queues and delays at the security – while arrivals at Stansted are waiting in ‘snail’s pace’ queues at passport control.

Pictures show long lines of people waiting along walkways in Manchester Airport’s Terminal 1 in the early hours of this morning. Passengers have also complained of 60-minute long queues at security today.

Passengers at the airport, whose managing director quit earlier this month following weeks of chaos, were yesterday seen queuing outside the terminal building to get through security. 

Meanwhile, at Stansted Airport, arrivals say they have been met with long queues at passport control. Passengers have told MailOnline that all the e-terminals are currently closed and arrivals are being channeled into a dozen manned desks. 

And at Birmingham Airport passengers have fumed at suffering ‘the sh**est experience in the world’ while waiting for their luggage at the Midlands transport hub this morning.

Now consumer chiefs are urging the Government to get tough on the airline industry, who they say must quickly fix the ‘shambles’ – which has been blamed on staff shortages and a sudden surge in demand in air travel.

Pictures show long lines of people waiting along walkways in Manchester Airport's Terminal 1 in the early hours of this morning. Passengers have also complained of hour long queues at security today (pictured)

Pictures show long lines of people waiting along walkways in Manchester Airport’s Terminal 1 in the early hours of this morning. Passengers have also complained of hour long queues at security today (pictured)

Meanwhile, at Stansted Airport, arrivals say they have been met with long queues at passport control (pictured)

Meanwhile, at Stansted Airport, arrivals say they have been met with long queues at passport control (pictured)

Q&A: What is the reason for the airport chaos – and what should passengers be doing about it? 

What is the reason for the airport chaos?

Aviation chiefs have blamed a perfect storm of problems on the recent airport disruption. Passenger numbers plunged during the height of the Covid pandemic, and airport and airline operations were downsized as a result. And some firms say they have struggled to ramp up their operations quickly enough to meet demand – which has surged again over the Easter school holidays. With all UK Covid travel restrictions now lifted, airports have reported passenger numbers have risen up to 80 per cent of pre-pandemic levels. And they are expected to continue rising this summer – which is the busiest time of year for the aviation sector. On top of longer-term staff shortages and an increase in passenger numbers, airports and aviation firms say they are currently facing a wave of Covid absences which has exacerbated the existing problems.

But surely companies were aware this rush was coming – why haven’t they just restaffed?

Airline and airport staff, like any job, require training. But unlike many professions, there are extra steps, including obtaining security clearances and background checks. This whole process can take up to six months in the most sensitive of roles – such as immigration officers with Border Force – and the Government, firms and unions say they have no intention of cutting corners on security. Some industry bosses have also suggested Brexit has played a role, because airlines no longer have access to a pool of EU workers to fill the gaps.

So when will it be fixed?

Unfortunately, some travel experts have warned the delays could last up to six months in some areas of the airports where staff require more extensive training and security and background checks. The issue has, for now, mainly been with outbound passengers queuing at check-in and airport security. But the Immigration Services Union – which represents Border Force officials – warns that there could be long delays at passport control areas from Bank Holiday Monday when many UK holidaymakers return. Speaking about the airport crisis Ms Moreton told BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme: ‘Border Force isn’t immune to this. There have been staffing problems within Border Force for some time. Border Force is no longer attracting enough candidates to fill the vacancies that they’ve got. Combined with the fact it takes nearly a year to fully train a Border Force officer, going into not just this summer, this weekend, catastrophically understaffed, with people beginning to travel again… we do anticipate that the queues will move from security based queues going outward to Border Force queues coming back in.’

So what should passengers do?

Many airports, including Manchester, which has been one of the worst hit transport hubs, and Stansted, have urged passengers to arrive early to mitigate for longer queues and to avoid potentially missing their flights. Usually passengers are advised to arrive at least two-hours early for their flights, but many airports are urging arrivals to turn up three-hours in advance. Unfortunately, there is no set in stone policy for compensation or refunds on flights missed due to airport delays – unlike if a flight is cancelled or delayed – so passengers should arrive early to avoid any problems. If boarding is approaching and customers are stuck in a queue, it is advised to let a member of airport staff know and they may be able to fast-track you.

What if my flight is delayed or cancelled?

Along with longer queues, passengers have also been hit with a wave of flight cancellations and delays. Yesterday, easyJet axed 32 flights. However it said all the flights were cancelled in advance and passengers had been given prior warning.  Meanwhile, BA has reduced its schedule by 50 flights due to staff shortages. Under current rules, passengers delayed by more than three hours, or those whose flights are cancelled at short notice, are entitled to at least £220 in compensation. They also have the right to be re-routed or refunded, except in ‘extraordinary circumstances’.  

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Rory Boland, editor of Which? Travel, said airlines, airports and the Government must make it a priority to learn from the disarray seen in recent days – ahead of the summer holiday rush later this year.

Mr Boland said: ‘Lessons should be learnt from the travel shambles this Easter. With many in the industry predicting a busy summer, the Government must work with airlines and airports to ensure they have the resources and capacity to handle increased passenger numbers, as there can be no excuse for a repeat of these failings.’

Mr Boland also criticised the Civil Aviation Authority and the Department for Transport, arguing the Government should have handed the aviation regulator fining powers to punish airlines who fail to give compensation to delayed customers.

He said: ‘Airlines wouldn’t be ignoring the law and their passengers’ rights if the aviation regulator had some teeth,’ he said.  

‘The Department for Transport can support consumers by equipping the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) with direct fining powers. 

‘It should also drop its plans to change compensation rules for UK flights which are an important deterrent against passengers being treated unfairly.’ 

Under current rules, passengers delayed by more than three hours, or those whose flights are cancelled at short notice, are entitled to at least £220 in compensation.

They also have the right to be re-routed or refunded, except in ‘extraordinary circumstances’. However consumer groups have claimed that passengers are not always being offered or given what they are entitled to.

Meanwhile, the Department for Transport is also proposing changes to the legislation, which would see compensation capped at the ticket price on domestic routes.  

It comes as passengers today fumed once again at airport disruption, which has seen outgoing passengers face long queues at check-in and security.

Today one passenger at Manchester Airport took to Twitter to complain about 60-minute long security queues at Manchester Airport.

They wrote: ‘Carnage at T1. We were lucky with a pram so bag drop was quick. But security took an hour.’  Another wrote: ‘Poor show at arrivals. Is this the best you can do?’.

Meanwhile, passengers arriving at Stansted Airport this morning faced long queues at passport control.  One passenger, who was stuck in the queue this morning told MailOnline: ‘They have funneled everyone into one queue, whether families or e-passports.

‘It is 2am and my 6 and 9 year old are in tears. They have closed all the e- terminals, and have (it looks like) 15 manned desks open. The queue is going at a snail’s pace.’

It comes as holidaymakers were yesterday warned to brace for major disruption at passport halls until summer due to the ‘catastrophic understaffing’ of Border Force. 

While pressure is currently on understaffed airports flying jet-setting Britons out of the country, union bosses have sounded the alarm about the possibility of chaos for UK arrivals on Easter Monday.

Holidaymakers are expected to return in their hundreds of thousands on Monday, following a four-day weekend and the end of the Easter school holidays.

Passenger numbers could hit as high as 80 per cent of pre-pandemic levels over the weekend, experts predict, at a time when airports are still struggling to re-staff after downsizing their operations during the Covid pandemic.

Figures dropped by as much as 75 per cent between 2019 and 2020, from 297million to just 74million in 2020. However airports have struggled to recruit, train and obtain security clearance for staff in time for the Easter school holidays.

This, along with Covid absences, has been behind long queues at check-in and security at airports such as Heathrow, Birmingham and Manchester since Friday.  

Meanwhile, infamous Operation Brock contraflow continued today, which sees a large chunk of the M20 in Kent closed to all non-freight traffic. 

Coastbound traffic on the motorway is split into a two way system with traffic lights signalling when there is more room for lorries or haulage vehicles at the port. 

Nick Allen, CEO of the British Meat Processors Association, previously called for lorries with fresh food on board to be prioritised. (Pictured: Lorries queue at Dover on Tuesday)

Nick Allen, CEO of the British Meat Processors Association, previously called for lorries with fresh food on board to be prioritised. (Pictured: Lorries queue at Dover on Tuesday) 

The controversial ferry service P&O has suspended the route from Calais to Dover until Thursday at least, it said at the weekend

The controversial ferry service P&O has suspended the route from Calais to Dover until Thursday at least, it said at the weekend

Meanwhile, on the A20, lorries queue in the left-hand lane on the approach to Dover in a separate scheme called Dover TAP. 

It is designed to stop roads in Dover from being blocked by queuing lorries but has seen huge delays.    

Good timing! Hottest day of year on way 

After hard frosts, sleet and snow showers, sunny and warm weather will return over Easter weekend – and could bring the hottest day of the year.

Temperatures could reach 21C (70F) in eastern and south-east England by Thursday, as warm as Nice in the south of France. And highs of up to 20C (68F) are possible into Good Friday and Easter Saturday, with the rest of the Easter weekend likely to remain fine and dry in most areas.

Sleet and snow spread as far south as the Peak District on Friday, and a hard frost on Saturday night saw lows of -6C (21F) at Sennybridge in South Wales, -4.5C (23.9F) at South Newington, Oxfordshire, and -4.1C (24.6F) at Santon Downham, Suffolk.

Today and tomorrow will see sunny spells and showers, but temperatures are set to build, with highs of 17C (63F) in southern England today rising as high as 20-21C (68-70F) in London, Cambridgeshire and East Anglia by Thursday. The warmest day so far was March 23, at 20.8C (69.4F) in St James’s Park in London.

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The worst of the delays appear at the weekends, as more people look to get away for the weekend while businesses on the continent are demanding more meat and other products to cope with higher demand. 

On Saturday a 23-mile lorry queue, including more than 2,000 lorries, built up on the M20 as part of Operation Brock Zero.  

Lockerbie-based Eardley International said this is putting huge pressure on their fresh meat business, and can mean he loses out on £800 per truck.

Graham Eardley, company director at Eardley said: ‘Now we are seeing delays of 20 to 25 hours to cross the Channel, and the quality and the sale value of that product falls by every hour it is delayed.’ 

Experts urged the Government to consider a priority system for haulage vehicles containing fresh foods. 

But Environment Secretary George Eustice told BBC Breakfast such a system would be difficult to stand up at short notice and on a large scale. 

‘My understanding is that things are now moving in the right direction so this was a temporary problem caused by a surge of traffic around the commencement of the Easter period,’ he said.  

It comes as motorists have been warned that they face a week of travel chaos with the Easter weekend getaway predicted to be the busiest in eight years.

The RAC warned of motorway gridlocks as a record 21.5 million drivers prepare to take to the roads ahead of the four-day weekend, the most since the organisation began tracking motorists’ Easter plans in 2014. 

It also urged drivers to try and and travel after 7.30pm to avoid congestion.  

RAC research showed Good Friday is set to be the busiest, with 4.62 million trips planned, followed by Easter Monday, when just under 4 million drivers are expected to be out and about.

A further 7.2 million will travel on Saturday and Sunday, with another 5.6 million not yet decided on which day they will set off.   

Inrix, the traffic information supplier, highlighted several likely congestion hotspots. 

The RAC warned of motorway gridlocks as a record 21.5 million drivers prepare to take to the roads ahead of the four-day weekend, the most since the organisation began tracking motorists' Easter plans in 2014. Pictured: Heavy traffic on the M25 between Junction 9 and 10, Surrey, on Sunday

The RAC warned of motorway gridlocks as a record 21.5 million drivers prepare to take to the roads ahead of the four-day weekend, the most since the organisation began tracking motorists’ Easter plans in 2014. Pictured: Heavy traffic on the M25 between Junction 9 and 10, Surrey, on Sunday

The congestion hotspots include: The M6 north between Junction 26 (Orrell Interchange, Greater Manchester) and Junction 36 (the Lake District), The M25 clockwise from Junction 8 (Reigate Hill Interchange, Surrey) to Junction 16 (Denham Interchange, Buckinghamshire) and The A303 near Stonehenge, Wiltshire.

Motorists wanting to avoid as much congestion as possible are advised to start their journeys before 9am or delay their journeys until after 7.30pm.  

More than 500 engineering works are taking place amid strikes on vast swathes of northern rail routes. 

It will create mayhem for the thousands of football fans travelling to London for the FA Cup semi-finals at Wembley. 

Meanwhile Europe-bound motorists have reported being stuck in traffic for six hours on Kent roads, and a 20-mile stretch of the M20 has been closed to store more than 4,000 lorries.

To make matters worse, getaways will be the most expensive on record due to sky-high fuel prices. 

Latest Government figures show the average cost of a litre of petrol at UK forecourts on April 4 was 161.9p, with diesel at 176.0p.

There could also be diesel or petrol shortages due to protesting eco-warriors blocking off fuel terminals, slowing down deliveries.

RAC traffic spokesman Rod Dennis said: ‘After two years of relatively quiet Easter bank holidays on the roads, our research suggests a return to traffic levels that are much more typical of this time of year.

‘It’s very possible this weekend could turn out to be one of the busiest for leisure journeys for many years.

‘Add in the impact of disruption on the rail network and one of the biggest fixtures of the sporting calendar taking place this weekend, and you have all the ingredients needed for problems on the roads.

‘Traffic volumes will likely be even higher if some warm spring sunshine makes an appearance.’

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