Part of the M50 in Herefordshire was forced to close last night due to severe flooding, as well as parts of the M4 and M48. Train services were also cancelled in a number of areas as flooding blocked rail lines.
Meanwhile in Kent, lorry drivers who have been stuck in the UK while waiting to travel to France due to sudden border restrictions have slowly begun to cross the Channel. Thousands still are waiting to be tested for coronavirus, as only hauliers with a negative Covid test will be allowed to cross into France.
100 flood warnings in force
Emergency services across England and Wales have been inundated with calls overnight as the deluge of rain caused flooding in some areas.
More than 90 flood warnings were issued for England on Thursday morning, with at least 16 warnings in relation to the River Severn on the Welsh border.
My colleague Chantal da Silva reports on the details:
Kate Ng24 December 2020 09:29
A14 East and West closed
The road policing unit for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire has said the A14 East and West is still closed between Thrapson and Ellington due to flooding.
The force also said that many roads in Cambridgeshire are “completely not passable”, and urged people to stay at home.
Kate Ng24 December 2020 09:10
Ferries will sail on Christmas and Boxing Day
Grant Shapps has also promised that ferries will sail on Christmas Day and Boxing Day, as he praised French firemen for their “great cooperation” in helping to test the thousands of drivers who have been stranded at the Port of Dover this week.
He said: “As well as ensuring ferries will now sail on Christmas and Boxing Day, we’ve also got great cooperation by French firemen working with NHS Test and Trace and our brilliant military in a big effort to clear the backlog created by the French border closure.”
Kate Ng24 December 2020 08:40
UK-France border to remain open through Christmas
The transport secretary, Grant Shapps, has announced that France has agreed with the UK to keep the border at Eurotunnel, Dover and Calais open to allow hauliers and EU citizens return home.
Thousands of lorry drivers and EU citizens found themselves stranded in the UK earlier this week, and are still waiting to be tested for coronavirus so they can cross the Channel.
Only those with a negative Covid test will be allowed to cross the border.
Kate Ng24 December 2020 08:29
Train lines blocked between Exeter St Davids and Barnstaple
According to National Rail, all trains running between Exeter St Davids and Barnstaple will be cancelled due to heavy flooding this morning.
Kate Ng24 December 2020 08:20
Gloucestershire Police warn people to stay off roads as A40 closed
The A40 at Over is closed to both in and out-bound traffic as severe flooding continues to hit Gloucestershire.
Gloucestershire Police tweeted: “There are diversions in place but we are expecting them to be very busy with traffic. Please avoid the area and plan your route accordingly.”
Kate Ng24 December 2020 08:18
Motorway closed and train services halted due to severe flooding
Torrential rain throughout Wednesday led to the closure of part of the M50 in Herefordshire, with all lanes closed on the westbound section between junction eight on the M5 and junction two at Ledbury.
Footage from social media showed a significant amount of water running over the M50, causing disruption to traffic.
Trains were also cancelled between Great Malvern and Hereford. West Midlands Railway tweeted just before 8am that the line has reopened, but services are “subject to delays/cancellations due to displaced train crew/trains”. No rail replacement services are available “due to conditions of road and rail within the Ledbury area”, it added.
Over 160 flood alerts and warnings have been issued by the Environment Agency throughout England and Wales.
Kate Ng24 December 2020 08:14
Good morning and welcome to The Independent’s liveblog on all the latest travel news this Christmas Eve.
Kate Ng24 December 2020 07:56