Volcanic Ash Cloud - Kent Stories

The latest information and stories on how Kent has been affected by the cloud of ash that's drifted over the UK from a volcano in Iceland, causing a week of flight delays and cancellations.

News Stories

Thursday 22nd April

The travel centre at the Port of Dover has stayed open all night for passengers who continue to arrive back inthe UK, many of them after long trips across Europe.

Coach company National Express is putting on a 24 hour service between the port and London, providing nearly 3,000 seats.

Southeastern have also been running extra services to the capital.

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Thursday 22nd April

Heart has been told that schools in Kent are 'coping well' despite more than 700 teachers not being able to get back from their Easter holidays.

Here's the breakdown of the number of people affected given to us by Kent County Council:

  • Number of headteachers/senior school staff - 132
  • Number of teaching staff - 590
  • Number of other staff in schools - 424

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Wednesday 21st April

Heart's been told the Port of Dover has been a "lifeline" for thousands of people trying to get in and out of the country.

They've dealt with a quarter of a million passengers since flights were grounded by the volcanic ash cloud - that's enough people to fill 600 Boeing 737's.

There have been ten times as many foot passengers than normal for this time of year.

Click hear to listen to Chris Newey from Norfolk Line

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Wednesday 21st April

A Kent teacher has told Heart how she's still trying to get home from Canada after being delayed for almost a week.

Liz Crew had been there on honeymoon and was supposed to back at work in Ashford at the start of the week.

Liz and her husband Ray have already had two flights cancelled and aren't expected to get back to the UK until after the weekend.

Click here to listen to Liz speaking to us from Canada

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Tuesday 20th April

This is what Kent County Council have sent Heart regarding the impact on schools:

KCC Managing Director for Children, Families and Education, Rosalind Turner, said:
"It is very much business as usual for Kent's schools. They are no different to the many companies that have been affected by the flight ban due to the volcanic eruption in Iceland.
 
"All schools will have a plan in place to deal with staff absence. Headteachers and senior staff will be using these to make the necessary arrangements to cover any staff who are directly involved.
 
"This situation is beyond the control of teachers or other school staff. The advice to governing bodies is to treat this absence in the same way as when it snows and staff are unable to get in to work. This is a matter for individual schools to consider.
 
"Some schools had arranged excursions during the Easter holiday and their return journeys have been affected. We are in contact with those schools and they in turn are in contact with the groups and families.
 
"Our many services for children and families are operating as normal.
 
"We will continue to monitor the situation and provide support where needed."

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Tuesday 20th April

A Kent mum has told Heart that her daughter's dream wedding in Cyprus could be ruined because their flights have been cancelled as the ash cloud crisis continues.

They were meant to travel today and then be joined by more than 30 members of their family for the ceremony.

Cheryl Morley from Chatham contacted us through the website to say it's taken her daughter and her fiance two years to plan the wedding, but they're now thinking it might have to happen in the UK instead.

Click here to listen to Cheryl's story

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Monday 19th April

Heart's been told we could start to notice gaps on the supermarket shelves as flights in and out of the UK remain grounded because of the cloud of volcanic ash from Iceland.

The Freight Transport Association, which is based in Tunbridge Wells, say fresh produce and pharmaceuticals are likely to be affected first.

Although air freight is responsible for moving less than 1% of goods, which are as diverse as mobile phone SIM cards and Kenyan green beans, by volume, it represents a quarter of the overall value.

Click here to listen to Christopher Snelling from the FTA

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Friday 16th April

Thousands of people left stranded when their flights were cancelled because of the cloud of volcanic ash from Iceland, are opting to use the ferries instead.

The Port of Dover is expecting to be extra busy as more passengers use the channel to get in and out of the country.

Click here to watch our video at the Port of Dover

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Travel News

Flights from airports across the country have resumed.

But we're being warned there are still likely to be more passengers than normal travelling via the Port of Dover and it will take several days for things to get back to normal.

Passengers wanting to travel from the Port of Dover are advised to allow extra time for journeys and contact operators to check for ticket availability.

Here are the numbers you may need:

(Passenger)

LD Lines: 0844 576 88 36

P&O: 08716 646464

SeaFrance: 0871 22 22 500

Norfolkline: 0844 847 5007

Eurostar: 08432 186186

(freight)

LD Lines: 0844 576 88 37

P&O: 01304 863340

SeaFrance: 01304 203030

Norfolkline: 01304 218400

Eurotunnel : say there is only limited space on their trains and people are advised to book tickets to avoid waiting a long time at the terminal.

08443 353535

Eurostar : Eurostar have told Heart they're organising extra trains and running as many services as possible.  Between Monday and Sunday this week they will run at least 28 additional trains.

Nicolas Petrovic, Chief Executive of Eurostar, said:

“We are doing everything in our power to help as many passengers as we possibly can at this difficult time.  Given that the current situation looks set to continue for the coming days, we are putting on extra trains and making 30,000 seats available at a special price.  We know that people are stranded across Europe and we want to do all we can to get people where they need to be.”

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