Millions of British families hoping to make the most of the Bank Holiday weekend face gridlock on the roads from lunchtime today – as people take to their cars following the worst wave of strikes on our railways for 30 years.
Experts have warned that a ‘perfect storm’ of warm weather, a boom in staycations following the Brexit vote and major disruption on the railways is set to cause some of the worst tailbacks seen on our motorways in years.
The RAC has predicted there will be double the number of cars on the roads this Bank Holiday weekend compared with last year. In total the group expects 20.7 million cars to be used for trips out between yesterday and Monday.
This is compared to 10.1 million during the August bank holiday last year – and Saturday is expected to be by far the busiest day, with five million getaways planned, up from 2.5 million on the same day last year.
Tailbacks of up to 90 minutes are expected on the M25 and the M5 southbound, with a ‘mad scramble’ on the way from lunchtime today when 4.1million cars take to the roads as families try to get away early.
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Beware of the Bank Holiday weekend traffic jams: This graphic shows the delays expected on Britain’s roads this weekend with the 11 ‘congestion hotspots’ shown and the length of the delay expected (in brackets), according to travel experts
National tourism agency VisitEngland said an estimated 5.1 million people will take a break within the UK, generating £1.3billion for the UK economy, following the pound’s fall in value after June 23’s referendum vote.
Many people will be rushing to the seaside or heading to a string of major events, with the Reading and Leeds festivals, Creamfields in Cheshire and CarFest South in Hampshire among those taking place across the weekend.
Highways England has urged anyone getting in their cars to make sure they stock up on water and food, with many facing lengthy delays in temperatures of up to 25C in parts of the South East.
One analyst described the Bank Holiday congestion as ‘Carmageddon’. The RAC attributed the dramatic surge in traffic to a combination of factors.
The fall in the value of the pound since the EU referendum has led to a boom in ‘staycations’, as trips to Europe and beyond have become prohibitively expensive for millions of families.
6am today: Many areas of the UK are expecting thundery and heavy showers, which will make roads more hazardous
Satellite: Most of Britain should enjoy a fine and warm day with plenty of sunshine, apart from some showers in Scotland
Stunning sight: The Kapitan Borchardt heads to Blyth past Whitley Bay in Tyne and Wear today for the Tall Ships Regatta
Beautiful start: Two other views of the Kapitan Borchardt at sunrise today, heading to this weekend’s Tall Ships Regatta
The warm weather has also caused many households to dash to the coast for last minute break. But many areas of the UK are expected to experience thundery and heavy showers, which will make roads more hazardous.
Green Flag is expecting almost 40,000 breakdowns on Britain’s roads over the three-day break, with the biggest cause being flat and faulty batteries, followed by punctures, engine faults and clutch errors.
Hundreds of thousands of people will travel by coach, with National Express saying it will be its busiest weekend of the year. The company said that every one of its full coaches takes a mile of traffic off the roads.
But bus passengers in London face chaotic journeys with more than 1,000 drivers and engineers striking today and on Bank Holiday Monday in a dispute over rosters, with disruption expected to hit Notting Hill Carnival.
And congestion on the roads is expected to be worsened with nearly 1,000 engineering projects being carried out across Britain’s rail network, meaning some lines will be closed.
Thousands of people headed to Brighton yesterday ahead of the Bank Holiday weekend as temperatures remained high
Brighton beach in East Sussex was busy yesterday as people made the most of the warm weather Britain has been enjoying
Conditions were fine in Brighton yesterday (above), but cloud and rain will be coming in from the South West tomorrow
The worst wave of strikes on our railways for 30 years has also prompted more people to get into their cars.
Southern – which has been blighted by a series of strikes, has cancelled 341 trains a day across the South East after introducing an emergency timetable last month.
Engineering projects mean many rail routes across the country will be closed. Major rail work is raking place to upgrade signalling around Bristol, affecting passengers on Great Western Railway.
Track replacement is also disrupting services between Milton Keynes and Rugby, while replacement buses are operating between Preston and Bolton due to a project to electrify the railway through Chorley.
Stuck: Motorists played football and rugby and walked their dogs on the M5 in Somerset yesterday after it was shut by police
Many people are heading to a string of major events including the Reading Festival, such as these young women yesterday
The Leeds Festival is also a popular destination for young people this weekend, with these young women arriving yesterday
‘MIXED BAG’ OF WEATHER
This weekend’s weather will be a ‘mixed bag’, forecasters say.
Cloud and rain will be coming in from the South West tomorrow, before conditions will turn brighter and clearer on Sunday.
Bank Holiday Monday is expected to be the best day of the long weekend, with sunny spells and temperatures in the mid-20s, along with the odd isolated shower.
The recent hot weather – which saw a 2016 UK high of 33.9C in Kent on Wednesday – has been down to strong sunshine and extra warmth being pushed northwards from the continent.
But there will be a respite from the heat this weekend as temperatures fall a little, with the cloud and rain bringing fresher conditions.
Met Office meteorologist Emma Sharples said: ‘We are drawing on the continental flow from France and Spain, where they have been having equally high and higher temperatures.
‘As we go through the next couple of days that changes subtly and we will see some cloud and showery rain around, which will cool things off.’
Network Rail’s route managing director, Martin Frobisher, said: ‘Work takes place 365 days a year as part of our Railway Upgrade Plan but we carry out larger upgrades over bank holidays when there are fewer passengers travelling.’
And Greg Hallsworth, a traffic analyst at Inrix said: ‘This Bank Holiday could see the worst congestion in recent years. A perfect storm of conditions will lead to increased traffic as carmageddon blights the long weekend.
‘With some uncharacteristically good weather forecast and potential rail disruption, holidaymakers could find roads gridlocked far more than usual.’
In a bid to reduce congestion, Highways England said 370 miles of roadworks will be lifted or completed on motorways and major A roads by early this morning.
Jim O’Sullivan said, chief executive of Highways England, said: ‘This August bank holiday, we’re helping drivers with their journeys by clearing roadworks across the majority of our motorways and major A-roads in England.’
He added: ‘We’re asking people to be prepared too. Make sure you have everything you need for your journey should there be any delays, check before and during your journey and also make sure you’re aware of the signs and signals on motorways.’
Max Holdstock from the AA predicted a ‘mad scramble’ on the roads over the weekend.
He added: ‘Traffic is likely to build up on Friday evening as people set off early to make the most of the weekend, and will be busy again for the return on Monday afternoon – so allow plenty of extra time if you’re travelling then.’
Travel organisation Abta estimated two million Britons will head abroad between Friday and Monday.
Airports will be busy, with London Heathrow expecting more than 440,000 passengers to depart over the last long weekend before Christmas.
Abta chief executive Mark Tanzer said: ‘This weekend is the traditional curtain closer for the peak summer months and it is always a very busy weekend for travel, with millions taking advantage of the long weekend to head off overseas.
‘With the roads predicted to be extremely busy, holidaymakers should make sure that they leave plenty of time to get to their port of departure.’
LIFEGUARDS AT CAMBER SANDS THIS BANK HOLIDAY WEEKEND AFTER FIVE DEATHS
Lifeguards will be deployed this Bank Holiday weekend at the popular beach where five young friends died during a day trip to the coast.
Council officials said the temporary RNLI lifeguard service at Camber Sands, near Rye in East Sussex, is designed to ‘reassure the public and advise on safety’.
The development follows the deaths on Wednesday of five men, named locally as Inthushan Sri, 23, Nitharsan Ravi, 22, Kurushanth Srithavarajah, 26, and brothers Kobi Nathan, 21, and Ken, 19, all from London.
Families are pictured on Camber Sands yesterday after five men were found dead after being pulled from the sea there
The council said a temporary RNLI lifeguard service at Camber Sands (pictured yesterday) is meant to ‘reassure the public’
Relatives of some of the men have criticised the lack of lifeguards at Camber and suggested they may have stood a chance of survival if the beach had been manned.
Mr Ravi’s family said they felt ‘very angry’ at the lack of response from the authorities following the death of another man, Brazilian Gustavo Silva Da Cruz, 19, at Camber last month.
And Mr Ravi’s younger brother, Ajirthan, 19, said: ‘There wasn’t any lifeguards cruising around, because they would have quickly noticed these boys drowning, and could have at least saved their lives.’
Ken and Kobi Nathan’s father, Satthiyanathan Arumukam, 51, of Erith, south-east London, told The Sun: ‘I brought my children from Sri Lanka because it is not safe back there.
Relatives of some of the men have criticised the lack of lifeguards at Camber and suggested they may have stood a chance of survival if the beach had been manned (pictured on Wednesday)
Horror on the beach: A spokesman for Rother District Council said that, despite there being no lifeguards, there were summer patrols to advise people of potential dangers
‘But there were no lifeguards on the beach where they died. If there had been, my sons would have at least had a fighting chance of survival.’
A spokesman for Rother District Council said that, despite there being no lifeguards, there were summer patrols to advise people of potential dangers.
In recent years, Camber has attracted people from outside the area who were unfamiliar with the sea and the dangers it poses, he added.
An online petition started a month ago to campaign for lifeguards at Camber has now reached more than 6,800 signatures.
Chief Superintendent Di Roskilly, of Sussex Police, said: ‘This has been an incredibly tragic incident and we are offering their next of kin support at this difficult time and our thoughts are with them.’
Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water! Birdwatcher claims he spotted a great white shark off the coast of Britain
A birdwatcher claims he spotted a great white shark off the coast of Britain.
Grandfather-of-two Brian Mellow, 59, was looking out from the headland at Pendeen in Cornwall when he saw a large fin heading towards the shore, and thought at first that it was a basking shark.
However, as it approached the rocks a wave crashed over the animal, revealing the full profile of the creature. He claims he then realised it was a 20ft-long great white – but sadly only had his binoculars, not a camera.
A file picture of a great white shark. A birdwatcher claims he spotted one off the coast of Cornwall at Pendeen
He said after spotting the shark he called out to his fellow bird watchers but they were simultaneously distracted by a rare bird. And when they looked back the shark had allegedly disappeared into the waves last Sunday.
Mr Mellow, a leakage technician who said he’s seen many kinds of sharks, is now warning fishermen to watch out.
He said: ‘I saw this fin coming towards the rocks at about 300 yards offshore. There are three sets of rocks at high tide, and at low tide they get bigger. I saw this fin coming up and thought it must be a basking shark.
‘But when the wave came up I saw the whole profile of the shark. It was just like you see on the surfers’ photos. I said “crikey” – the size of it. It just wasn’t the right profile for a basking shark at all. It was a great white.
‘I said “bloody hell” and told the other people I was with and they started to look for it too. But a fairly rare bird was spotted – a Wilson’s petrel – and people got on to that and watched that. I couldn’t see it again.’
Article source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3759568/Mad-Bank-Holiday-getaway-begins-lunchtime-20million-motorists-roads-double-year-s-number-thanks-Brexit-worst-train-strikes-30-years.html