Disunited kingdom – at least in travel

By | Category: Travel rumblings

From yesterday, travellers returning to England can take a lateral flow test instead of a PCR one.

The River Wye often hugs the English/Welsh border but rules on either side can be very different

In a week’s time those returning to Wales can also take a lateral flow test instead of a PCR one. In Northern Ireland and Scotland, no date has been given for a change and, officially, the governments in the two devolved countries haven’t said that they will change.

The expectation is that they will follow suit but this disunity is causing disunity amongst the nations of the UK ans confusion in the minds of travellers.

It has been suggested that the devolved nations were surprised to find out that they had responsibilities for international travel and it certainly surprised the travelling public which felt that a single system should be in place for the whole of the UK.

That was especially so for England, Scotland and Wales which borders that abut each other meaning unless there are road bloacks and rail checks, anyone could slip across a border and evade the rules individual nations decided upon.
That evasion certainly happened in border villages during lockdown.

The official line from the Welsh government is not to go abroad but, recognising the impracticality of its own advice, merely practises the pragmatic.

Apart from thre fact that many Scottish and Welsh residents find it economic and/or convenient to use English airports when going abroad, the media have a habit of reporting any changes as applying to the UK rather than just England.
That the media is largely English based makes this understandable. They like the general public is beginning to realise just what is governed from where. And in the case of travel restrictions the public don’t like the confusion caused by four different governments operating four different policies and timescales.

The UK is beginning to operate like a federation rather than a united country.

For the travel industry and the public this brings little benefit but plenty of confusion.

UPDATE: Scotland has followed England and will allow lateral flow tests as from October 31st

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