A travel rules update from the UK government is expected later today, with the industry and holidaymakers alike waiting to see whether any countries could be added to the currently empty red list.
At the last update on 28 October, the Department for Transport cleared the red list of its remaining seven countries, with transport secretary Grant Shapps saying: “We have been able to do this now because the variants of concern that we have been tracking are no longer of concern to the chief medical officers.”
However, Mr Shapps made it clear that countries being added to the red list once more was a possibility.
Ministers have not confirmed a time for the travel update, but it is expected to be announced later this afternoon.
In other news, several countries across Europe are re-imposing local Covid restrictions – including ski and winter-break favourites Austria and the Czech Republic – after seeing their highest case figures since the pandemic began.
Follow the latest travel news below:
‘London to Sheffield in 87 minutes’ – here’s how
Simon Calder, The Independent’s travel correspondent, has assessed how the prime minister’s claim of an 87-minute service between London and Sheffield could be delivered.
The high-speed trains can run at 225mph between London and East Midlands Parkway, where HS2 will end – a journey estimated at around 50 minutes.
Currently trains on the 46-mile run from East Midlands Parkway to Sheffield are scheduled for 40 minutes, with stops at Derby and Sheffield.
This would need to be cut to 37 minutes – which looks feasible if the Midland main line is electrified for its full distance (a project abandoned by the government in 2017).
But the line would need to be kept clear of local and freight trains between East Midlands Parkway and Sheffield: the exact opposite of the problem HS2E was supposed to solve.
Simon Calder18 November 2021 10:05
Integrated Rail Plan will be welcomed by businesses, says Raab
The deputy prime minister, Dominic Raab, has claimed that business will welcome the government’s Integrated Rail Plan – which involve axing the high-speed rail link between the Midlands and Leeds in favour of smaller schemes.
Mr Raab told BBC Today: “This is the feedback that we’ve had from the businesses, from the investors, from the communities that the interconnectivity within the Midlands, within Yorkshire and the northwest is crucially important.
“This will be, as an investment, transformative. It focuses on that interconnectivity.
“That’s the stuff that the small businesses, the medium-sized businesses say is critically important if they’re going to expand.”
But Henri Murison, director of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership (NPP), said: “Levelling up cannot and will not happen without the full delivery of HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail together.”
Simon Calder18 November 2021 09:26
‘Potential candidates’ for red list include Austria, Slovenia and Croatia
With an update to the UK’s travel rules expected later today, are any countries set to go back on the red list?
The Independent’s travel correspondent, Simon Calder, identifies Austria, Slovenia and Croatia – all seeing a spike in Covid infections at the moment – as possible candidates for a return to the highest-risk list of destinations.
However, he says, “Even though the health secretary, Sajid Javid, insists the red list is critical to protect public health, I would be very surprised if any nations are put on the hotel quarantine list.”
Lucy Thackray18 November 2021 09:08
Good morning and welcome to The Independent’s liveblog, where we’ll be posting all the latest travel news and updates.
Lucy Thackray18 November 2021 09:00